Friday, 29 June 2018

[Snippets of Haachin] The Haachin Experience - Performance Selection (Mini-Reviews)

[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...


Despite Haachin already graduating from Morning Musume '18 on June 20th, I plan on finishing these posts as soon as I can (all without becoming stressed or damaging my work life) and appreciating the heck out of her as much as humanly possible, because yes, she is worth it. That, and I really didn't plan out or time the posts that well beforehand, so I will repent for my sins and finish what has been started (let's hope I finish this, at least).

So, without further delay I give you this: a small but satisfying selection of songs that showcase our dear Haachin in a live setting, one where we can truly enjoy her as an idol on the stage. Though she might not have dominated the platform like many before her, and whilst she does not have the voice of an angel, this was still a place where could watch her shine a little more brightly and where we could truly appreciate the hard work, efforts and her smile even more.

Even though she wasn't given the time to shine as much others in line distribution or camera presence, we can still watch over her time as an idol and look back fondly at the memories she created. It's time to adore Haachin a little more and look back at the few lines she was given throughout the years. Are you ready to reminisce?




Suki na Senpai

It took me a fair while to track down a copy of this song (it took me a while to track down any song that showcased a fair amount of Ogata time, let's be real) but once I found it I was pleased, because it does showcase a beautiful amount of Haachin in all her glory. Plus, this is one of my favourite songs from Morning Musume thanks to its fun, energetic sound and cute nature. It's a song that has been passed down to various generations, too, and 12th gen did a fantastic job when singing it thanks to their energetic, youthful performance.

Haachin herself really shines here. She has such a big voice, something I actually didn't anticipate when I first watched this during my prep for the review. I mean, I always expect Haachin to be soft-spoken and gentle in tone, even when singing, yet here she is rather loud and proud about it. You can hear the effort she puts into the lyrics and how she matches up to the other 12th generation members. It's incredible, and this burst of energy she has is so endearing. Sure, she isn't the best performer - she lacks in the choreography, her voice isn't as refined the other three - but she is trying her best and you can see that.

It looks like Haachin is having fun here, and that's what this song is all about: having fun. It's a great performance from all the members, but honestly, I am super impressed with Haachin here. She sounds pretty good, and though she's a little sloppier in dancing than the others, she keeps up with them nicely. It's a well-rounded performance, and a nice little introduction to this small selection of mini-reviews. I'm so glad I found this gem.


Zero kara Hajimaru Seishun

I'm not all that familiar with this song, but I found it as a suggested watch right after Suki na Senpai, so I wanted to throw it in here for the sake of having some more Haachin goodness. Plus, it seems to be one of those few hard-to-find 12th gen songs around, so yeah, I'm having it.

And damn, Haachin! Where did that voice come from, and why do people call you tone deaf or a shit singer? I mean, come on! Here, Haachin is a songstress when you compare her to Maria and Akane! That softness paired with the sweet tune of the song is a damn nice pairing.

This is only a short performance, but what we do receive from Haachin's one line is something precious. She sounds incredible, she looks happy, and she is giving this performance her all. Honestly speaking, this has to be one of my favourite performances that showcases Haachin. She sounds good, she looks happy, and she is definitely not the weakest singer this time around. She suits the song, and that's amazing in my eyes.


Mou Gaman Dekinai wa ~Love ice cream~

I swear, a lot of people love this song, and whilst I kind of get why, I also don't. It's a cute song, don't get me wrong, and for once we have a smaller unit that includes Haachin and gives her a chance to shine, even if it's a small amount. Luckily, this is the style of song that works really well with Haachin's voice, allowing for her to sound pleasant but cute without having to force her voice too much.

She's abn absolute delight in this, as are the others, but I can't help but think about how much this song suits Haachin (and Yokoyan) more than the others. It works beautifully with her voice and allows us to understand just how sweet her singing voice actually is. That said, I'm not as impressed by this performance like I was the others. The song is just not that great, though honestly, it might work better in a concert setting. I dunno.

It's a good little performance from Haachin herself, and I like that she's been given a handful of lines as opposed to one set and then backing vocals for the rest of it. She sounds good, she performs well with the others, and she suits the song. What more could I ask for, aside from a solo song?


Ai no Sono ~Touch My Heart!~

Okay. This isn't a smaller performance or even a solo, but a full-blown group song, but damnit, I love this performance, and Haachin is great in this! Yes, it looks like they threw the worst singers of MoMusu into this song (sans Duu, Msaki, and to a degree, Eripon), but honestly, they all sound good in their designated parts. And damn, Haachin, despite getting so few lines, you really do a good job of your lines!

Yes, Haachin is featured very little in this. I mean, she has like, what, two full blown solo lines in this? But honestly, she is far from the worst singer here, but of the lot, you can definitely hear the weakness in her voice, and I think that is worth noting. Where Haachin can work perfectly in softer, cuter songs, she certainly lacks here.

Which is why she should have been in the Sakuragumi vocal unit, and Maria in the Otomegumi one, because Sakuragumi focused on softer, more ballad-like songs whilst Otomegumi thrived on power-driven tracks that work well for harsher, more powerful vocals. Still, despite her misplacement, Haachin actually brought a much needed softness to this song and balanced it out decently, I guess.

It's a good performance, and whilst it lacks Haachin (but relishes in Eripon, YES!), I feel like it is a good look at how different Haachin's vocals are against the others. Even Harunan has some power to her voice, but even after saying all this, it isn't bad that Haachin is softer in her singing. It's actually a good thing, because despite sounding weaker than others, Haachin helps to soften what could be a harsh-sounding performance.


YAH! Aishitai

Oh, damn, we're in the old-school arena of H!P here, and damn it sounds refreshing against some of the newer tracks, and so classic as well. Also, I'm enjoying this lineup of singers because, let's face it, everyone  but Zukki is classed as a "crap" (read: according to the internets) singer here, but honestly, they all sound incredible. The performance is a lot of fun as well, and despite the fact we only get one full line from Haachin, it's still a wonderful reminder that she's a decent-ish singer. She sounds so nice here! Soft, yes, but nice.

Plus, she just looks like she's having fun! Yeah, her limbs don't know what they are doing at this point, but whatever. I love her in this performance, she really does look like she's enjoying herself, and damnit, she is trying!

I wish we had more shots of her in this one, and yes, I want more solo lines. But hey, whatever, I'm just happy that she was given some time to shine in a smaller group, and in the small moment she shined, this girl shined for me.


17sai

It is actually really hard to find solo performances of Haachin, so I'm just happy I was able to grab this one on YouTube. Actually, it's a pretty decent performance, but it's one of the few I have found where I can really hear Haachin's struggle in singing, and the video where I understand why some people are so venomous about her as a performer. No, you should not be a venomous wota, and no you shouldn't diss Haachin for her voice, because there's more to her than being a singer, but yes, this performance is an example of just how much of a "bad" singer Haachin can be.

Now, Haachin is trying. And she actually sounds cute in some parts, but let's be honest: this song is a bit too high and energetic for Haachin, and therefore, her voice suffers because she is straining herself to fit the pitch and tone. I'm no musician or voice coach or whatever, but even I know that this song is all forms of wrong for Haachin, but bless her heart, she is trying, and she looks so happy that you can't stop the video.

Yes, my ears hurt after listening to this, but by gawd I love how happy she looks, so bleeding ears it is. I can suffer through this for Haachin and her cuteness.

This feels like a diss towards Haachin (I guess it is a diss), but despite how much this song doesn't suit her and how this is the worst performance of hers I have come across, I still enjoyed it. You don't have to be able to sing to deliver an enjoyable, memorable performance, and through her happiness and cuteness, Haachin shined and made this performance worthwhile and memorable. I enjoyed it. My ears didn't, but my eyes and heart did, and that's what matters, I think?


Zero kara Hajimaru Seishun

I wasn't going to include this video because it was already included as a group performance, but hey, screw my own rules, I want more Haachin! Plus, just look at her! Hear her! She is delightful, right? And once again, she's trying her hardest, a consistent theme I see in all. These. Videos. Not once do I see Haachin giving a sloppy or lazy performance (even if her dance style is sloppy, but that's cause she's all uncontrollable limbs). And yet again, I see how delightful she looks. Haachin is just too adorable in every video I see her in, I swear.

Here, we are given another dose of Haachin's pleasant vocals, but in solo form (finally). Where she sounded a lot more strained and difficult to listen to in 17sai, this time around she is pleasant and cute. The softness of her voice works beautifully in this song, but compared to the performance with her fellow 12th generation members, I detect a little more power and cuteness in this video. It may be her unrefined nature at this point, because by the time the group performance came around, she was a lot less inept in singing, but there's no denying the confidence she has here. Still, it's ncieto see the change between the two performances - her confidence in singing has risen admirably from when she first performed as an idol, and that makes me so happy.

And again, just look at how cute she is! This girl is so at home on the stage, even if it isn't where her talent lies. She was born to be an entertainer of some form, and seeing her dance, sing and smile makes me feel so happy.

Haachin might not be the best performer out there, and yes, she was definitely the weakest in Morning Musume before she graduated, but she still offered a wonderful amount of energy and happiness that worked well within the group. I really love this performance of hers, it showcases all the best parts of Haachin when she sings, and it makes me miss her so much. This cute, cheerful girl who loved performing will be missing, and that is so sad. Why, Haachin? Why did you have to leave a hole in my heart? ;;


Compilation

Okay, this one is a little random, but someone made up a compilation of Haachin on Youtube that showcased parts of her memorial DVD, as well as her audition footage, meeting the other members and other things. It's a wonderful compilation of Haachin's progression since her debut, from when she sang as an auditionee (first softly and then terribly), up until the recording for Are You Happy?

It's a small but enjoyable time line for Haachin that allows us to see and hear how much she has improved as a singer over the course of three years, and comparing her to her first recording, yes, there's been a giant improvement. In confidence and sound, Ogata Haruna is a cute, passable singer who loved being on stage. She enjoys performing, there is no denying that, and even when performing on stage may not be her strong suit, she tries her best and shows us her best self. She enjoys every moment despite her own shortcomings. Isn't that what being an idol is all about anyway?

We can't deny her growth, and I can't deny how enjoyable she is as a performer. She's so fun and lively on stage, a blast to watch. Granted, she's no Kudo Haruka, but I don't want her to be Duu or anyone else. I want Haachin to be herself, and thankfully that's who she has been all this time. Haachin has been fun, cute and persistent on and off the stage,showcasing this side to herself consistently in all performances since her debut.

To many she may not shine on stage, but to those who adore her, this is the girl they see. The love people hold for Haachin goes beyond her voice and her skill in dancing, and no one can ever take that away from them.


And there we have it, snippets of mini-reviews regarding the live performance of Ogata Haruna. It took so long for me to finally write this up, but now that I've done it I'm happy. It was a good experience, one where I realised that actually, despite being MM's weakest singer, Haachin's voice had its charm. She's a soft, cute singer who became more confident overtime, and the change in how she uses her voice and the way it sounds is noticeable. Regardless of whether she is the best or worst singer, the fact we can detect that change is amazing. At least she didn't sound the same from then til now.

To conclude, I feel like the thing that I took from this small compilation of mini-reviews is this: Haachin is a really fun performer. The one constant in all of the videos I saw is that no matter what the song or who she performs with, Haachin is a delightfully energetic and cute performer. She loves singing and being on stage, she likes the spotlight and bringing happiness to her fans, and even when her singing is not her strong point, she still tries and delivers a memorable performance that fans will enjoy.

I'm repeating myself too much right now, so I'll wrap it up with this: Ogata Haruna is not a bad performer, in fact, she's pretty memorable when it comes to her expressions and how much fun she has. When it comes to idols however, people focus too much on the singing and dancing aspect, and forget that Japanese Idols especially are born from this idea of persistence and improvement. One of the things that makes the world of Idols so enjoyable is how we watch them grow in various ways, from singing to variety and more, and what made Ogata stand out among her peers was not her figure skating or her smile, but her freshness. She was a 'green' idol, someone who needed to be polished before they could shine fully on stage. She is the definition of a 'J-pop Idol'. She hadn't been polished or seasoned beforehand like some of the other members, and came into Morning Musume a green performer. Now, here she stands, shining brightly in her fully polished form.



Adorable, hard-working and memorable. Haachin is an Idol I won't forget, and she is an idol I love to see perform. Too bad this will be the last performance I see her in, and of course, it has to be her best one. Gosh darnit.

Thank you very much for reading, and thank you for being Haachin's fans (if you are). She was well-loved, even when people said she was worthless or pointless in the group. Please continue to love and remember Haachin fondly everyone, because this is a girl who shined in her own way until the end.

Until next time, please take care.
Chiima.

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