Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Goodbye, Berryz Kobou... (An Open Letter to Berryz Kobou)

Goodbye, Berryz Kobou.

For over 10 years, you have brought music and life to many. You have gained fans, you have lost fans, and you have kept fans, but no matter what, all of these fans loved you together, even if their time in loving you was short.

Together, you gave these fans joy and music, and you made them feel complete.

For myself, though I was never truly a fan, there was something there that I did like about you. Mostly, it would have been your music, but looking back these past two weeks at your older works, I also realised that I had come to like, enjoy, maybe even love, the community that you had together as kids, that sense of unity and closeness that was so evident and wonderful back in your childhood years. You were fun, and you made me wish that I had liked you more, that I had been a fan when you were so happy and carefree.
 Alas, it was never meant to be, so the way I came to know you was bittersweet.

I do not regret caring little for you, I admit that wholeheartedly, but I do wish that I had come to know you more. I wish that I loved the members of this group like I love the members of Morning Musume or Juice=Juice, that I cared so much that I researched and watched videos on all of you, and fell in love with the personality of the group, rather than the shallow aspect of your videos or how you looked and what you did. I wish, deep down, that I had spent more time wanting to get to know you, as members and characters, rather than watching what was on the surface.
 For ignoring you as individuals, truly, I am sorry.

For the past year or so, it is obvious that I wished you were gone, that you would disband and go away, and finally, this has happened. It has happened today, and whilst it is sad to know that the girls I like are going away from the Idol industry, I won't lie and say that I am sad; I am happy. I am happy that, finally, all of you will be able to go your separate ways and live your lives, to become the adults that you want to be, and to all pursue your own careers and activities that suit you. I am glad that you won't be held back, that you won't have to play a facade just to keep the fans satisfied.

I am glad that, finally, all of you are free. You do not have to put up a charade any more.

For a long time, it has been obvious that you were going your separate ways, that you had grown apart and had new ideas with what you wanted to do. It has been clear for a while that you didn't want to be Idols any more, and that you just wanted to grow up and be yourselves, or at least it was to me. That is fine, though, because now you don't have to play this Idol game, and you don't have to pretend. You can do what you want, and you can be free.

I honestly won't miss you, Berryz Kobou, because for these past few years, you have bored me. The enthusiasm and charm was lost long ago, your smiles became strained and your happiness became dull. I won't miss the sub-par music videos or your lack of emotions in the same videos, nor will I miss the sloppy choreography or terrible hair and costumes. There is a lot that I won't miss about you, and a lot I will be glad to see gone, but I will tell you this;

I will miss the girls. I will miss the funny, charming, energetic personas of Berryz that, somewhere deep down, are still there. I will miss the love the girls had for the group, and the dedication each and every one of them had to keep the group going for 10 years. Your music, I will really miss it, and I will miss the unity you once again showed within Towa no Uta.

Though it's not a lot, these are the things that I will miss about you, Berryz Kobou.

Though this is a somewhat bittersweet goodbye, I am happier to see you go than I am sad about it, but that's okay; you will be missed by far more people than you will be cheered at for leaving, and I am happy that all of these fans will miss you. You deserve these fans, and they deserve you.

In all of your futures, please, be happy. Pursue your dreams, and become the person you have always wanted to be, but forever and always, remember that you are Berryz Kobou, and that you have made so many people happy, even in your days of darkness.

For over 13 years, thank you. Even though I couldn't be your fan, and even though I said I wanted you to go away, I really do appreciate you and what you did for Hello! Project. No matter what, even when I say I am happy to see you go, I know that deep down I will miss you.

Berryz Kobou, omedetou! Thank you for being here for so long, and thank you for being our Idols!

Until the day where you all return to the stage hand-in-hand, please, be successful, and be happy!

Goodbye, Berryz Kobou.


Shimizu Saki - The Graduation Appreciation Post

All thoughts and opinions within this post are totally my own, and no one else's. Got an issue? Ah, well~ 

The Appreciation Posts have come to an end, with my final post on Berryz Kobou's beloved Leader and Captain, a girl who has pretty much been the Heart of Berryz from beginning until end.

She is the girl who changed greatly, but someone who never gave up on her beloved group. She is their Captain, Shimizu Saki!

Of all the Berryz members, Captain is the one who changed the most. Much like the Ugly Duckling, she had her years of being awkward and a little less attractive than the average Idol, but slowly, she became  the Swan that others would envy, an Idol who truly became a beauty.

Sexy and cute, Captain may have never been my favourite member of Berryz, but of them all, she was one many loved and adored, and a person who is truly respected.

Captain is Love.

I admit that, up until very recently, Captain was someone I took very little notice of. Looks wise, she wasn't my type when it came to Idols, and I've never been a fan of her voice, so for me, there was little to find charming, I suppose. Yes, I like my Idols awkward, but with Saki... well, there was a lot of awkwardness, to the point where it made me feel a little awkward. So, because of that, I really found no reason to fangirl over her.

I still don't fangirl over her, however, I do appreciate her, and I appreciate the love she has for Berryz. But, she is certainly not my favourite, and never will be. I respect her greatly as an Idol though, because as a leader, she has been put through a lot, watched her groups downfall and seen them become what they are, all the while trying to keep them together and make Berryz work.

She is strong, and whilst she wasn't like Sayumi was when it came to leadership, she did love what she did, and she loved the group she got to do it with, that much is obvious. The fact that she never gave up or threw in the towel, too, shows how strong and loving she was towards the group.

Like any true Captain, she would stay until the very end, even f her ship sank. Up until now, she was their Captain, and she loved her Berryz girls with all of her heart, and really, I can't fault her for that. Who could?

Now I wouldn't say that I think Captain is one of the best leaders out there, because I haven't looked into her a lot like I did with Sayu, what with not being that interested in her and all, but I do applaud her for being the groups Captain from beginning until end, for the past 11 or so years - that's a long time, and she stuck it out, making it work to the best of her ability. That shows how dedicated she is, and how amazing an Idol she has become. She grew up with this group, and she lead them to what they are now with a smile and the love in her heart for them.

She stayed, she evolved with them, and basically, she really did do good. Shimizu Saki, though not an amazing leader, is pretty great at what she did for Berryz, because she loved them. If she didn't, then why else would she have stayed for this long?

Now, whilst I do think she's a good leader and someone others should aspire to be like in the long run, I have to admit that now that Berryz are gone, I probably won't miss her much, mostly because she was one of those members that I really did pay little to no attention at all to. The only times I did truly look at here had to be in recent videos, where she is at her best, and where she's still a tad awkward, but gorgeous even so. That's not enough for me, however - her looks won't make me miss her greatly, because that's what Yurina's for I suppose, and in general, she just never stood out to me.

I will, however, miss her dancing skills, because Saki was a prime dancer. So, yeah; her talent in dancing is something I will miss, especially now that I know she won't become a choreographer like I had hoped she would...

Still, this girl is going to go onto greater things, and she will shine backstage more than anything, and be given the respect she deserves. Behind closed doors, I think she will be just as good a leader there as she was within Berryz Kobou.

In a way, I'm not that sad to see Captain go, but that's because I know she's not really gone; she's still going to be a part of Hello! Project, but as a bridge between the members and staff, and will be giving a voice to the future generation of Idols that come along, rather than being an Idol herself. I know, it sounds mean to say I won't miss her much, but it is the truth - I never really noticed her before, not until fairly recently, and even though I recognise her dedication and talent, I do think that Saki is someone who deserves to be heard rather than seen, and that is just what is going to happen. She's going to be a manager, of sorts, and help newer Idols out. In that, I do believe she will do greater things, and shape the future of H!P.
 ... or at least, I hope she does that.

She's a good Idol, a great girl, and whilst I don't think about her much, I do respect who she is and what she has done for Berryz Kobou over the past 11 years or more, and I think she is a great dancer and a good leader. Yeah, I may not have really cared for her much as an Idol, but I do think highly of her, too... just not as much as I do the other members.

Captain is someone who everyone holds dearly in their hearts, and whilst I may not hold that same love for her, I do want to say this;

Thank you for all these years of hardwork, Captain, and thank you for leading Berryz Kobou the way you did. Even when they fell, even when they were struggling and trying to find their voice again, you stayed put and guided your group as best as you could. You never left this ship, and you never gave up on the group you so clearly loved. So, for all of this, I thank you. Even to those of us who may not follow or love Berryz the way others do, you are someone to look up to, and someone to respect dearly.

Captain, you are Love. The Heart of Berryz lies within you.

It was never about herself, but always about Berryz. That is the true strength of Shimizu Saki, Berryz Kobou's beloved Captain.

Until next time...

Much Love,

Monday, 2 March 2015

Tsugunaga Momoko - The Graduation Appreciation Post

All thoughts and opinions within this post are my own, and no one else's. That is all... for now.

This post may be jumbled due to a raging headache, and my persistence to write this despite said headache killing me right now. Hopefully the garbage I have written will suffice. I apologise for terrible writing ;w;

Though I wonder if I should call this an 'Appreciation' post, let's appreciate one of the most annoying members of Berryz, but also the most respectable!

She's the second oldest, and someone we want to kick a little. It's Tsugunaga Momoko!

Tsugunaga Momoko is an anomaly, to me; of all the Idols I have ever experienced as a fan, she is one of those rarities that confuses me to high Heaven, even now. There are times where I like her, times where I am frustrated by her, and plenty of days where I respect and adore her.

Of all the Berryz members, she is the one who confuses me the most, and the one that I probably would have happily see go, right next to Miyabi and Risako... and yet, she's the one that I am glad will be continuing an Idol career, too.

This is Momoko, and holy heck, she confuses my feels!

The first time I was introduced to Momoko was back when Buono were still all shiny and new, and the only group bringing in the dough for H!P. In that group, she was this spunky little thing who was cute and all shades of adorable, as well as my favourite member and what I thought to be one of most adorable singers ever, right after Koharu. Seriously, I liked her.

Momoko was cute!

To me, she wasn't annoying at that point - she was just some Idol who looked like she was loving what she did, and who was having a blast in her little 3nin group, and I adored that about her at the time. She basically represented everything an Idol was meant to be, if you will; small, cute, innocent, energetic and sweet, a nice enough voice and the personality of a child... she was wonderful, and she was thoroughly entertaining. So yeah, I enjoyed the entertainment she provided. It was fun watching her.

I didn't seem to care much for her in Berryz, however. Still, in Buono, she was my little star.

It was around the time that Berryz became boring when my feelings for her got a little muddled. On the one hand, I really enjoyed her in Buono and how great she was in that group, but on the other hand, she did nothing for me in Berryz, and I found her dull.

That was before she put on the 'Momochi' act, mind. When that little character of annoyance came along, however, my feelings towards Momoko, or Momochi if you will, were definitely mixed.

Irritation. Frustration. Annoyance. Deep dislike. A wish to burn those fucking pigtails and yell at Momoko for her stupid character.

It all made me rage, and it made me feel differently towards Momoko for a while, though in a way, that was the point; Momochi was created to cause tension and discord, made to annoy and produced to frustrate. She created a persona that was, in many ways, an annoyance and distraction, but a character that also brought some life into Berryz. Yeah, they were boring, but there was only one girl who made them stand out with her stupid persona that managed to capture everyone's attention when on TV.

And, for that, I do think Momoko is a bit of a genius, though an annoying one. Oh, all these conflicted feelings...

Despite my absolute dislike for her at that time, though, I was also feeling something else for her; respect. Of all the members, I think that Momoko is the one I've learnt the most about, in terms of her Idol persona. Not only an Idol, she also went to school and University, and earned her degree. She had ambitions beyond her career within Hello! Project, such as wishing to work with kids when she left the industry, and I knew that she was juggling a lot of things all at once, whilst also managing to keep Berryz afloat off her back, knowing well that despite being an annoying character, she was still keeping her group and career alive.

For all of that, I really do respect her, because it showed her dedication and love for Berryz, as well as her own future.

Much like Michishige Sayumi, in that respect, Momoko did all she could to keep Berryz Kobou within the public eye through creating a pest of a persona, and letting her presence be known. She promoted and boasted about the group, allowed their name to be known and songs to be heard, despite the backlash she may have received from fans. She kept her head held high throughout the abuse she received, and smiled no matter what, always doing it not for herself, but for the group. Yeah, she may have seemed conceited and annoying, but it was something that got her noticed, and it allowed for Berryz to be known.

Where the others couldn't create something to attract attention, Momoko was the key to a dwindling Berryz' success. Through devotion, love and dedication, she was able to come out on top, and to show people that Berryz were still around, and that they were still pretty good Idols.

It's not just her dedication to Berryz or her University work that makes me like and respect Momoko, but also her talent; I won't deny that Momoko is one talented girl. Sure, her voice can get annoying, but that comes with her persona sometimes, but she does have good vocal pipes on her, and I like that. She's also fun to watch, being quite an energetic performer and all, so even with those atrocious pigtails (which seem to have disappeared... for now), she is still really entertaining to watch.

Of all the Berryz members, aside from Chinami, Momoko has to be one of the most charming and energetic of the lot - she has expression, a bundle of energy, and great charisma in front of the camera. She knows how to charm the viewer, whilst also slightly irking them, and brings the video to life.

Of all the members, I do think she is the one who can be called a 'True Idol'.

Though I find her annoying, and though I feel a little cheated with the fact that she's still going to be an Idol, even after Berryz have disbanded, there is a part of me that is really happy to see Momoko continue as an Idol, despite this change in her career. She's the only one who could do it, for one, and also, Momoko is far too young and talented to let go of right now, and is certainly a great benefit to Country Girls now that she is mentoring and watching over them as both a member and sorta-manager to the group. So, yeah, I am happy that she's staying, despite how annoying she can be.

She's someone who conflicts how I feel, an Idol who can rile me up and rub me the wrong way, but also someone who entertains and pleases me, too. I find her fun and appealing, but I find her annoying and stupid, too, but that is the strange appeal of Tsugunaga Momoko, I suppose - she's an Idol who can do so much to you, and still have you feel like you want to watch her, no matter what she does.

As an Idol, she's not done yet, and it may be a while before we get rid of this annoyance once and for all, however I don't mind so much, really; she's a respectable girl, one who has done a lot for Berryz and her own career, and will continue doing so, but with Country Girls instead.

She lead one group out of complete darkness, and now it's time for her to lead a new group into the shining Idol light. Sure, she may make me want to kick her in the face sometimes, but damn, I can't help but respect this girl and what she has done for Berryz Kobou, and H!P as a whole.

This song may annoy the fuck out of me, but because this is my 'Appreciation' post, let's add it here for old times sake.

She's not gone yet, but hey! So long as those pigtails don't resurface any time soon, we'll be okay!

Until next time...

Much Love,

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Tokunaga Chinami - The Graduation Appreciation Post

It's no lie that Tokunaga Chinami has been my favourite for a while; I adore this girl. Of all the Berryz members, she is a stand-out girl, one who demands my attention and commands my love, a girl who is so bright, she truly does shine above the rest of the group. I don't know what brought me to loving her as much as I do now, though I vaguely remember legs may have been involved, but I really do adore this girl, and of all the Berryz gals, she is the one at the Top for me.

She is my Happy, and of them all, she is the one I do not want to let go.

Though I have little love for Berryz as a whole, Chinami is the one member I have enjoyed and liked the most, at least consistently; along with Maasa and Yurina, she is a member that I cherish and think greatly of, and not just because she's cute - Chinami is funny, her smile feels authentic, and her eyes light up when she performs. Also, I actually like her personality.

Go figure, Chiima likes Berryz member for their personality. Surprise!

In all seriousness though, Chinami is a winner for me mostly because of her smile and charming personality; she's a pretty funny girl, but it's how she adapts that personality onto camera that fascinates me the most. Of all the members of Berryz, Chinami is one of the rare few who looks like she genuinely adores performing in the MV's, and someone who manages to bring forth her shining character without seeming fake. She charms you, with both her smile and her actions, and she brings you into the video.
 She is truly a doll, and someone who has great camera presence, even if she isn't always in the front, and I really do love that about her.

Even during the harder times for Berryz, when most of the girls looked bored and less invested than usual, Chinami was one of those members that shined the most because of her vibrant nature. This allowed her to stand out to me, to see that she truly was someone who enjoyed performing and being a part of the group and industry, and not just playing along because it was simply her job. She really made me believe that she loved what she was doing, and that was enjoyable for me.

There is nothing better than seeing an Idol who is happy and invested, and that was Chinami all over. She wasn't acting 'cool' or 'emotionless', but herself. She never put up a facade, and she never let the bad days of Berryz get to her. I think that, during those days especially, this was when I really started to adore Chinami, because when everyone else bored me to death, Chinami was thats hining light with a beaming smile to keep the darkness at bay.

The Light of Berryz, that's what she was.

She's fun and cute, so why wouldn't I like her!? The shallow part of me also loves Chinami because of how beautiful she is, and of course, because of her legs - of all the members, aside from Yurina, I think Chinami has the nicest legs, and yeah, I look at them. How could I not!? She's a babe, and as of late I feel like she's become sexier as opposed to cute... it's a strange transition, but I suppose that's womanhood, for ya. Chinami is becoming a woman, and there is nothing we can do about it, other than celebrate!

She is gorgeous, though, and someone who captured me by her smile and antics, and how she seems to just light up when performing with Berryz. Truly, she is a force to be reckoned with, and someone who kept me even a little interested in the group. Sure, she's not the best of singers, but as a performer, she is pretty great - she pulls you in, and she keeps you entertained, which is exactly what an entertainer is supposed to do, and Tokunaga Chinami is a prime entertainer, if you ask me.

Like a Clown, she is there to please and entertain. She just-so happens to be cuter than a clown, and a lot less scary!

Tokunaga Chinami is fun, bright and the sunshine to the downpour that was Berryz in their final years, and though she won't be performing any time soon again, I am happy to know that she will be working between the staff and members, and teaching the new generation of Hello! Project members what it is like to be an Idol. There is no one better for the job, if you ask me, and I do hope that Chinami, alongside Captain, will help to revitalize and make Hello! Project a better place, and to try and bring in fresh ideas. She has experience, and it is this experience that she will pass on with her new role, and I don't think that they could have chosen anyone better to do it.

Though her smile will be hidden behind the scenes from here on out, we can still remember how wonderful and cheerful Chinami was in videos. I won't forget her, nor will I forget the fact that, to me, she was the light at the end of the tunnel, a ray of hope amongst clouds of gray when Berryz were at their worst.

Despite the fact that she wasn't a front member, Chinami will, forever and beyond, be at the front of my heart... at least, when it comes to Berryz, that is.

Though Hello! Project will lose a shining Idol, they will gain a new tea member who knows exactly what she is doing. I just hope that, one day, we will get to see her wonderful smile on the screen once again, and become engulfed by all that is Chinami!

She is my Happy, and I love her! Chinami, thank you for being in Berryz! Thank you for being their light!

I will miss your smile the most!

Until next time...

Much Love,

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Sudou Maasa - The Graduation Appreciation Post

Opinions are my own, as are the thoughts. Y'all don't have to agree with me or accept what I say, just tolerate it. Thanks~

The Appreciation Posts keep coming, and before I even dare to go to sleep tonight, I'll write one more so that I can keep on schedule a little! For this post, let's take a look at a member who was once an Idol I barely noticed, to someone I eventually fell in love with, though I rarely boast this love!

Of course, it only has to be the Cool but Cute and Expressionless Sudou Maasa!

When I look back at my brief history with Berryz and think of Maasa, I admit that up until recently, I actually payed little to no attention to her. For a long time, she kind of went under my radar, though I did get brief glimpses of her personality. She likes cosplay, that I know of, and she was a sweet looking thing. Aside from that, though, I didn't really think much about her, and just saw as another member of Berryz.

Recently, however, I kind of really like her. Heck, I might even say she's my #2, because dang, this girl!

During the early years of being a Hello! Pro fan, I think that my reason for not caring much for Maasa, or noticing her for that matter, is because there was nothing about her that really caught my attention. Her vocals were below average (still are) and whilst she was and is a beautiful specimen of loveliness, she didn't have anything unique about her that made me think 'Yeah, I like you!', so for a long time, I just didn't think much to her. Yes, I thought she was attractive, and no, I didn't ignore her presence, but she wasn't like some of the other members - she didn't exactly stand out. The only time I took notice was when, on the off-chance I watched anything, I saw her personality through clips on youtube.

Then, when Berryz became seriously boring, I realised that I was starting to notice Maasa more, because she looked bored.

I find it really ironic that, what pissed me off about Risako and Miyabi looking bored in PV's, was the reason why I began to notice and enjoy Maasa more - for some reason, her bored face was really appealing to me, like she really was not just bored out of her mind, but completely done with Hello! Project and Berryz. The fact that she seemed to look like she was full of contempt... I found it funny, in a way, and that became appealing to me. It wasn't like she was trying to hide her feelings, either - it really felt like she was showing her disdain, and I loved it!

Where others faked their happiness, Maasa was one of a few who looked like she wasn't faking it, like she was showing exactly how she felt through her expression. I know, I know; this is her 'cool' persona, apparently, but I'm going to beg to differ and pretend that, really, she is just bored and hating her time in Berryz. Why? Because it makes things funnier, to me at least.

It was that, and also, I realised quite suddenly how much of a babe Maasa was. Despite her so-called 'cool' expression, she is seriously gorgeous, one of the nicest looking members of Berryz if you ask me, aside from Yurina and Risako (when her hair isn't a mess or she isn't trying to look sexy). Honestly, if I was to go after one of the members for a wife, it would probably be Maasa - she looks like solid wife material, and yeah, I would love her unto the day I die.

That said, if she wants to go all Ikemen on me, which is her most recent pursuits of absolute hotness, I swear, then I won't complain either! If anything, Maasa is great at being both girly and boyish; she suits both, and she looks good no matter what!

Actually, I really am happy that I found an appeal in Maasa, even if it is pretty recent and also pretty late, considering she'll be graduating soon; she's a stunner, and whilst I won't consider her in my Top Voices of H!P any time soon, I do think she's a fun performer, too. I know this moreso now, because I took on the [A Week with Berryz] posts, and I saw what a lively, energetic bundle of joy this girl could be, so when I saw it in later MV's, it truly was a treat, because dangit, a Happy Maasa is a freakin' ADORABLE Maasa!

I mean, I love her Resting Bitch Face and all, but seriously? The cutest thing is when Maasa smiles, because that girl can light up an entire room with just her expression.

She takes my breath and heart away every time <3

I think of all the girls, I will actually miss Maasa the most, if only for the fact that she truly did look like she hated her last year or so in Berryz. I know, it's a weird thing to miss someone by, but that's how I came to know and love Maasa; her lack of expression was appealing to me, and it was what made me look at and appreciate her more as a member. Without this supposed 'cool' facade, I would probably still be thinking of her as more of a background member, which she isn't, because Maasa is amazing.

Much like the others, Maasa has already chosen her path to go down now that she is free to spread her wings, and I am honestly really happy with her decision to take on acting - I don't know how good Maasa is at it, I admit, but I do hope for her to be successful in what she does, and to basically have fun with it. Given she likes cosplay, and can pull the coolest case of Resting Bitch Face I have ever seen, I think she will do pretty well. I hope that, in the long run, she can eventually do movies and the like, because it would be wonderful to see Maasa on the big screen at one point.

She's a little bit cool, a little bit cute, but also a helluva lot wonderful. It may have taken me time to find something to enjoy about her, and whilst it was a little later than I would have desired, I am glad that I came to find love in Maasa, in one of the most unexpected ways.

Through her 'bored' and 'expressionless' face, I became entertained by this Idol, however fell further in love with her as a performer when I realised just how lively and happy she could be, too. It is her smile and liveliness that I have come to treasure when watching videos, but this expressionless doll that allows me to enjoy her boredom, too. It's a complex thing, to love an Idol for both boredom and happiness, but hey? It's Maasa, and that's all that matters.

In her future, I really do wish Maasa great success. I want her to prosper, because within Berryz, she must have a hard time, but she still had some fun with it I believe. Yeah, she looked bored, but I doubt she ever stopped loving Berryz... none of them did. She just grew up, and wanted to find a different path I think. Now, she can take that different path and become someone even greater.

The next time we meet, please be happy! I hope that you achieve everything you had hoped for, and live your life to the fullest!

From the bottom to the top, Maasa is my babe in Berryz! She may have left me with little impression in the beginning, but eventually, she really did win my heart.

Until next time...

Much Love,

Natsuyaki Miyabi - The Graduation Appreciation Post

Opinions are my own. Ballsy Blogger be Ballsy. Let me be the Raving Wota Bitch I am. CHIIMA = OUT!

I apologise for not writing or posting this Appreciation piece yesterday or last night; I pulled an all nighter in order to finish my essay, and was really sleepy and just needed that time to relax, so writing was off the cards in general. Now however, I am well rested! So, let's get on with this series, shall we?

To keep this series going, we're moving onto the next Berryz of the bunch, and one of the members I've known about the longest I think! From the title of this post, I suspect you all know who I'm talking about, anyway!

Coming up next, it's our sub-Captain of the Berry Tree, Natsuyaki Miyabi! Let's get this Pony Show on the road ;)

I got into Buono first, way before Berryz and way before Morning Musume, and that's because of Shugo Chara. I didn't actually know at the time that Buono were a branch off of the Hello! Project tree, nor did I particularly care, to be honest - I just liked the music Buono did, and the cute dances. I never really payed much attention beyond that, not even to the members.
 Still, I found the girls pretty cute. How could I not?

Miyabi was the one member I thought beautiful, though. She was call, taller than the other two, and had one of the best voices of the trio at the time, and she was eye-catching, too. Did that make her my favourite? No, but I couldn't deny that she was pretty. I liked her enough, though.

Come the Berryz era that I was actually a part of, I actually really liked Miyabi pretty early on. I think this had to do with the fact that she was in Buono as well, and that I recognised her, but it was also to do with her singing ability; of the bunch, she was one of the best, and I liked that about her.
 Also, she was easy on the eyes. We can't deny that, now can we?

Undeniably, to me at the time at least, Miyabi was also one of the hottest Berryz members... Hey, I have eyes, too, ya know!

Seriously though, her vocals and her face, it was almost like a match made in heaven for me as a new fan to J-pop, and I found my liking for Miyabi growing rather quickly, especially when my love for Risako began to falter once we were past the 2010 mark. She was never going to be my absolute favourite, Miyabi, but she was always safe from being at the bottom of my ranks because of her voice and her, pardon the blunt phrase about to come up, undeniable hotness.

Seriously. She was gorgeous, and that was mostly why I liked her. Personalities be damned!

Come 2013-2014, I was beginning to get royally bored of Miyabi. A lot seemed off about her when it came to PV's and pictures, and I thought it was due to her career with Berryz; though a stellar singer, and again, hot to trot (neigh!), Miyabi looked bored and stiff, as if she would rather do something else than perform with Berryz again. So, I started to get bored with her, and slowly, Miyabi fell down in my ranks.

As of 2015, before they graduate, Miyabi is actually at the bottom of the Berryz list for me right now. Once, she had that safety net thanks to her vocal ability and her looks, however as of late not even that has managed to save her, simply because she looks like she doesn't care any more, and that she doesn't seem to have fun. I don't really care that she's one of the Idols lowest on my list, period, but it is weird to see her there, when once upon a time I might have put her on a pedastool for her ability as a performer. Ah, well, can't win all the time, can we?

Still, watching Love together! has allowed me to think better of her, because she did look genuinely sad in that video. Paired with her past boredom and terrible hair choices, however, she still hasn't managed to clamber up the ranks to keep her afloat.

Speaking of her hair; recently, I have really hated it, and yes that puts a dampner on how I view Miyabi, even if it is shallow to say so. For the past year, Miyabi and Risako have both had really bad hair choices, and I've found it rather off-putting for some reason. I suppose because I focus on the visual aspect most when it comes to the Idols in terms of videos and performance, I take note a little more. So, yeah, her hair; it's god-awful as of late, and paired with her 'I can't give two flying fucks' face, I feel put off a little.

Her hair may also have been a big factor in her downgrade in my personal Love List of H!P members. Oops.

Still, hair aside, I do still think that Miyabi is one of the most, if not most, talented members in Berryz Kobou - she has a wonderful singing voice, and I know she enjoys performing, but I don't think she necessarily enjoys performing with Berryz still. This is just speculation, however, but yeah, she is great, I just think that, sans Berryz, she could be a lot better and become a lot more creative.

I think that Miyabi could easily become an Artist, in fact she's the most likely to of all the members. So I hope that being a solo artist is in her future, I really do.

By no means is she my favourite member, singer or performer, but I do think that Miyabi is one heck of a talented girl, and one who could go far. She may bore me and look like an awkward duck at times, but she's one of the only members of Berryz that could go far in a solo career, and one who could pursue the title of 'artist' rather than 'Idol'. That said, whatever she chooses to do, I am sure her fans will support her, because at the end of the day that is all we can do, especially if she goes down a path that she loves.

I know that recently, we found out that Miyabi was going to take a break and then pursue possibly fashion and maybe singing once her break was over. Whilst the break part surprised me, I am happy that Miyabi knows she wants to continue singing, and I think it has given fans a lot of hope that she'll be back. Back with H!P? Who knows, but it has allowed us some peace of mind. And yeah, I would like to see her come back to singing at some point, especially if she becomes a soloist. I seriously do think she would rock that scene.

Though she bores me at times, and though her hair choices have been questionable, I do think Miyabi is a star, despite the fact that she is my least favourite member of Berryz right now. She is truly a talented girl, and one who could have a bright future ahead of her if she continues to work hard at what she does. She will do well in whatever she chooses to pursue, I'm sure, and I look forward to seeing what she does in the future, even if it isn't singing.

For now, though, whilst she is on her hiatus, I will continue to dream of her joining Flower... seriously, the girl looks like she could be a part of the group! But, whilst that may never happen, at least I have an imagination to make it somewhat real, right?

One heck of a singer, and one heck of a girl too, I'm sure. She may not be as hot in my eyes as she once was, but damn! This girl is a looker, a stunner, and I will miss her presence in Hello! Project, you can be sure of that! For now though, let's allow her to run off back to that boyfriend of hers who got her into trouble way back when, aye? ;)

It's been nice knowing you, Miya. Thank you for over 10 years of your voice, and thank you for all of the Horse jokes you have provided unto us all! For now, though, it's time to giddy up, and say goodbye!

You will truly be missed.

Until next time...

Much Love,

Friday, 27 February 2015

Kumai Yurina - The Graduation Appreciation Post

All thoughts contained within this post are my own... even if they are a muddled mess.

Continuing this series of Appreciation posts, I will be going onto my next Berryz member to talk about whilst I take a short break from essay writing. For those who are unaware about what this series is all about, I am writing out posts for each member of Berryz Kobou before they leave, and talking about them in an appreciative way. At least, that's the idea - I may throw in little comments that seem less than sweet, but all the same, these posts are about what I think of them, and what I hope for them in the future. So, without further ado, let's get cracking.

Next up, it 's our resident tree, Kumai Yurina!

I think that I have always liked Yurina, not for her voice, but always for her looks; she's really beautiful, and always seemed to remind me of Gaki in a way when it came to her facial structure. No matter what though, I liked Yurina's presence, especially in the later years of Berryz. Of them all, she seemed to be one of the few who truly enjoyed being an Idol.

Slowly, she grew on me. Kind of like a tree, if you think about, though she was never my absolute favourite. Still, I liked her, and until the end of Berryz, she will remain one of my favoured members.

Yurina was not an immediate favourite, but she's consistently been one of those members that my eyes are drawn to. Maybe it's because she's a giant compared to the rest of the group, or because she's simply lovely, or something else, but no matter what, I thought she was a cool kid, and I think I made that apparent - I appreciated her, especially those lovely legs, and I enjoyed watching her in the music video's.
 Seriously, I don't think that I could actually get bored of this girl. She's my dynamite!

I think another thing that drew me to her, especially after I started to find a dislike for Risako, was the maturity Yurina exuded; her features were a lot more womanly than most of the girls in Berryz, her look quite appealing, and she had this aura of a grownup around her that the others lacked at one point. I think that difference between herself and the members, them looking like regular tweens and Yurina towering over them as a friendly Green Giant, made me look at her a lot more closely, and made me see how much of a grownup she was really was... even if she was the second youngest.
 Still, it wowed me, and around the time Shining Power came out, I was pretty much a fan of hers. I kinda liked this girl.

Her voice, however, sucked. But whatever, I liked her face, right?

As I've mentioned, I liked Yurina for a few reasons; the fact that she's beautiful, her legs, and that she actually looked happy in a PV compared to the others. There is a lot to like about her, but honestly? It ends there for me, because personality wise, I actually don't know much about Yurina.

Aside from a pretty face, she is merely a blank canvas to me, a doll to look at. But I suppose I've never been that interested in learning about her, not like I was with other Hello! Project members, and that's pretty sad I think. I've seen her more as a model these past few years, less so an Idol.

I don't think there's any shame in admitting that Yurina's my personal eye candy, because I'm sure that's what Risako is for most people, but other than seeming interesting in videos and songs, I never thought to look up anything about her. I've seen videos here and there, yes, but nothing that struck me as intriguing about her, but again, I don't mind too much, though others may have something to say about that.

At the end of the day, as an entertainer, she has indeed entertained me, and she's done it very well. As a performer, I think she's a star.

Speaking of performance, one of the first things I ever saw Yurina in was actually Guardians 4, which is where I first properly noticed her, more-so because it was a smaller group and easier to pin-point the members. I remember her being the tall one, and though I took more notice of either Risako or Aika at that point in time, I did like Yurina. (In general, I liked all of Guardians 4.) She wasn't squeaky or high pitched, but she wasn't necessarily the best singer, either. Her performance within the group, too, was real cute.

And she was absolutely adorable in that costume, too! Gaaaah!!!

She was really fun back then. Heck, she's fun even today, and I love that she had a lot of enthusiasm even in her younger years, never letting anything get to her or have her falter in her performance. That is actually what I respect about Yurina the most; the fact that, in each PV she did, in each song she sung, she enjoyed and loved what she did, and never let things get her down. She was an Idol, first and foremost, and nothing could stop her from looking like she was invested in what she did.

I may not know much about her personality, but how she looks in PV's... well, that has left an impression on me, and I think it shows just how serious Yurina is about the job she has, and the things that she loves. It's really inspiring.

She's a spectacular young woman, one who I hope has a shining career ahead of her. I know that she recently updated about taking a break to finish her studies, with the hopes of a modelling career in the works too, and I honestly hope that she gets what she wants, because Yurina is a hard worker. I'm not saying that the other members of Berryz aren't, but of them all, Yurina is one of the few who showed her ambition and passion no matter what, constantly giving her all during a performance, and never once backing down.

Though I see her as just a pretty face, I know that she is more than that; Yurina is someone to be admired, someone who works because she enjoys it, not because she has to endure it. She became an Idol and stayed an Idol because it's what she liked doing I believe, and I don't think she has ever felt bored by it once. Though she never improved singing wise, she did prove to the fans that this is what she worked hard for, and that she loved every single minute of it despite all of the hardships the group has faced.

I know I'm going to miss Yurina when she's gone, not only because she's my sexy eye candy, but also because I will miss her performance ability and how invested she looked when in front of the camera. She is a beautiful person, one who I hope pursues modelling and succeeds in her studies. I want her to do well, and to prosper in life, much like I want for any Idol who leaves a group or the Entertainment industry.

It's sad to think that she will be gone soon, away from the spotlight and gone from Hello! Project, but I do think Yurina will be happy no matter what. She will do what she wants now, and focus on things without the restriction of a contract or the binds of being an Idol. She can live her life, she can create her own future, and she can finally step forward and become Kumai Yurina, not Kumai Yurina of Berryz Kobou. Finally, she can be independent, and I honestly can't wait to see what she does with that independence.

Kumai Yurina is like a saint to me; when Berryz was in darkness, she managed to light up the whole room with a smile and show us all that, hey, there is still some life left in a group that was going downhill. There was still an Idol there who cared.

Though she can't sing for toffee, she was truly one heck of a performer.

She is my Tree, and she has truly rooted herself into my heart. My eye candy, beautiful Yurina, goodbye came far too soon.

I really will miss your beautiful face and your shining aura.

Until next time...

Much Love,