Cyborg Maeda Atsuko Interests Me.

September 30, 2010

When word was out that Maeda Atsuko was going to have a significant role in an upcoming drama called ‘Q10’, I didn’t bat an eye.  It was probably bound to happen, with her consistent popularity.

It wasn’t until I came across this picture that I started to pay attention:

Yes, that is Atsuko: as a robot.  And yes, I fall into the undying cliche of finding robots endlessly fascinating, especially those in the form of attractive females.  From what I’ve gathered, the drama is about a high school boy who encounters a strange girl who is revealed to be a cyborg.  Expect shenanigans, hilarious oddities and awkward situations to unfold as the boy inevitably starts falling for the extremely cute android.

Rumor has it there will be a kiss scene between the two and it will, of course, make me an unreasonably harsh critic on the male actor who plays the protagonist.  I’m totally better looking and better suited to play the protagonist, but you know, whatever.

Robot girl played by an idol from my favorite girl group got my attention.  It premieres October 16th; hope there’s a team out there planning to sub this!

Here’s a short CM below:


AKB48 Goes on an Uploading Spree.

September 30, 2010

I took a look at the official AKB48 Youtube channel today and was faced with nearly 20 new videos, uploaded just a few hours ago.  AKB used to do these short, little segments where they would act out a specific situation with the camera (the camera is usually the POV of a love interest), varying from tame(wishing a happy birthday) to blunt(requesting a kiss).  Whether you find them cute or strange, they were interesting projects and remind me now of the upcoming PSP game, which will probably be full of videos like these.

Here are a few that I picked out:

Miyazawa Sae and Ono Erena/”Congratulations”

Minegishi Minami and Sashihara Rino/”I like you”

You can see the rest at the official channel.

AKB48 is Serious about Internet Security

September 29, 2010

You should know that while AKB48 promotes fun, simple things like stores, clothes, and vegetable drinks, they also promote other interests…like internet security.

Watch this intensely shot CM for Kaspersky Lab’s security software featuring Maeda Atsuko:

If you need more security in your network, go ahead and pick this up; it’s endorsed by Maeda Atsuko and AKB48 research students, after all.

Or perhaps you’d want to pick this up along with a brand new NEC Lavie laptop computer, as promoted by the members of Watarirouka Hashiritai…in maid outfits:

If only they could have some awesome AKB promos to give away with these products, I bet they’d sell at least twice as many.

‘Beginner’ CM reveals a few clips

September 29, 2010

I just pre-ordered two versions of AKB48’s upcoming single, ‘Beginner’, and coincidentally came across this little video giving me a preview of what to expect from the PV.  It gets curiouser and curiouser…

Three Hour Base Ball Bear Concert on Ustream? I’m In.

September 28, 2010

David loves this band.  I’ve probably heard a number of songs from them in the past, but don’t remember a single one.  Ayrton and David both were able to see Base Ball Bear perform live in Japan, while I sat in the darkness with only the glow of my laptop screen to soothe me.  Even though I wasn’t familiar with Base Ball Bear, you’ll bet envy was coursing through my veins.

Tokyo Hive has informed me that Base Ball Bear have heard my struggles and decided to throw me a bone.  To celebrate the simultaneous release of two brand new albums, “CYPRESS GIRLS” and “DETECTIVE BOYS”, they are doing a promotional three hour concert at 7:30pm to 10:30pm on the 29th (which is about 6:30am-8:30am eastern time), and it’s supposedly going to be streamed LIVE on Ustream at EMI MUSIC LIVE.  Sure, a live internet stream isn’t going to be at all excellent quality, but it’s pretty neat and I’m going to check it out.

Again, they will be live HERE at  7:30-10:30pm Japan time, 6:30-8:30am Eastern American time.

Make it if you can!

AKB48 on Seoul’s 2010 Asia Song Festival

September 28, 2010

Asia Song Festival is a special international event held in Seoul that hosts a smorgasbord of artists representing their countries.  It feels like a non-competitive Olympic event of sorts, having different countries send their best pop stars to represent them and have a chance to show what they’re made of.

This year South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan, Thailand, and Malaysia will be participating, presenting their top performers: Rain, KARA and 2AM from South Korea, AKB48 from Japan, Joe Cheng from Taiwan, Jane Zhang from China, FILM from Thailand, and Michael Wong from Malaysia. The event will be held on October 23rd.

Past performers at this event from Japan include Ayumi Hamasaki, Goto Maki, Arashi, Berryz Koubou, Koda Kumi, and Gackt.

I am proud of Korea’s strong talents, and especially look forward to seeing KARA perform, but I feel a bit anxious about AKB48 performing at the Song Festival.  It’s a great honor certainly, but Korea’s reaction towards AKB48 last year at the MNET Asia Music Awards had me feeling uncomfortable.

AKB48 had won an “recommended/honorable mention” at the ceremonies, and performed ‘RIVER’ for the event.  I could tell this wasn’t going to be ideal from the beginning.  AKB’s loud, energetic self-introductions came off as childish compared to the graceful, calm demeanor of the awards show.  The stage the girls had to dance in was a tiny, cramped platform; the girls in the back row were literally having their heels bump into the back wall, the entire group having visible troubles doing the routine.  As they performed, the looks on the surveyors were for the most part, dumbstruck.  While some of the viewers looked on with blank faces, others seemed downright smug.  The reception was less than ideal to say the least.

Just this past month or so, SKE48 had done a live performance of ‘Aozora Kataomoi’ in Korea, with a similarly lukewarm reception, with comments on the internet calling their performance sophomoric in comparison to Korean groups.

What I have a problem with is something I notice all the time living in a relatively large Korean community: quick judgments and a severely critical eye that is given to anything not-korean.  Even among Korean-Americans, I’ve seen ignorant displays of nationalistic pride when it comes to their entertainment; to say that Korea perhaps doesn’t make the best dramas, or the best music would be asking for a downpour of netizen hate.  But I’m not even saying AKB48 would give Korean pop a run for its money.  I’m simply asking for respect instead of a condescending eye.  To at least try to understand where they’re coming from and why they are as popular as they are.

Personally, I think AKB’s latest single ‘Beginner’ would be their best bet at getting a somewhat positive reception, and I hope that’s the single they perform at the upcoming Music Festival.  It’s easily their most accessible song, almost specifically tailored towards those who are not familiar with japanese idol music; but chances are AKB48 will be performing Heavy Rotation instead.

Of course, I wish Korea could see them perform any of their great songs like Namida Surprise or Oogoe Diamond, but they simply won’t respond to it because their sound is not internationally mainstream.  It’s a trend I’ve noticed time and time again.

All my concerns aside, here’s to hoping for a good reception at the 2010 Asia Song Festival.

SCANDAL Dances in with Their Next Single

September 27, 2010

Scandal’s latest, ‘Nanka Buttobase’, has a PV out and I recently gave it a listen.

SCANDAL’s been on and off my radar since I’ve heard about them.  I was captivated by songs like ‘Space Ranger’ and ‘Doll’, but also felt bored or unsure about some of their other singles.  Their image also felt like it was in a constant flux, feeling down to earth and gritty initially, and then sporting a sterilized corporate look with their more recent PVs.

I’m not sure how I feel about ‘Nanka Buttobase’.  The rock attitude seems to be there, and the technical ability is there; but like many of their other songs, I don’t find myself loving their sound.  Many of their singles sound safe and restrained, like a baby-proofed room. I found myself loving some parts of the song, but turning completely off at the rest.

This PV shows something I haven’t seen from SCANDAL; synchronized dancing with their guitars.  I don’t recall them doing this before, and the result is something that almost feels more ‘idol-ish’ than a rock group.  The video shows SCANDAL performing in what looks like a vacant warehouse with a large group of men in the background engaging in some sort of face-off for the entire PV.  Like the song, the entire video shows a lot of shaking and movement while feeling completely static.

Are they a band meant to be heard live?  Am I missing something?  I’m just not feeling it.