Monday, 8 February 2016

5th Anniversary Contest: ~Result~

... This is definitely later than it should be...

Hello all, and welcome back to my loverly blog! I hope that your January and beginning of February have thus far been fab and Idol-filled!
 And if they haven't (because certain Graduation Announcements were made, WAAAH!), then hey, let's hope March is a little better, aye? We can all dream, ahaha... waaaah!

ANYWHOO, given that it's been well over a Month since my 5th Anniversary Contest officially ended, I do believe it's high time to formally announce the winner and, basically, to settle your minds on whether or not I forgot about this contest.
 I didn't, seriously. It's just that a lot has been on my mind lately, from anxiety to work, to University and other things. Life is a hectic process, after all!

I also want to clarify that, with this contest and any other I may hold in the near future (I like holding them XD), I do ask for outside help with my judging process. This is to assure that I have more than one opinion on a piece, as well as to choose a suitable winner. Indeed, this is my blog, but asking for other peoples thoughts and views on potential winners helps me to feel a lot more confident in the decision process. It's how I work, and it also results in a fairer judging process.
 My other judges know who they are, so girlies, thank you for looking at what was sent, and for allowing me to make a sound decision! Love you <3

Furthermore, please understand that, whilst I would love to give everyone something for participating, I can't; I am one person who is also a student. A lot of my funds go on rent, food and basic living. So, for this contest, only one Winner has been chosen. I apologise.
 Again though, I hope to hold another contest, so be sure to watch out for that when it eventually happens!

Now... ONTO THE WINNER!!! 8U <3

Sunday, 7 February 2016

A Springs Fading Smile: Suzuki Kanon Announces Graduation from Morning Musume '16 and Hello! Project

Okay, so.... that happened o-O
 Please bear with me, I think my 5am brain is still trying to process what the fuck is going on right now.
It's not 6am as I publish this. WOW.

Suzuki Kanon is graduating... Yeah.

Okay, so to clarify (if 'graduation' was not enough to clarify), during these wee hours of the morning (afternoon in Japan, evening of the Americas), it was announced on the official Hello! Project Website that Suzuki Kanon of Morning Musume '15 will be graduating from both the group and Hello! Project come the end of their Spring Tour, in order to work in welfare.

An official translation of the announcement has been posted through the Up-Front Link Facebook page, of which you can find here.
"Thank you for your continued support towards Hello! Project and Morning Musume。'16. Kanon Suzuki, Morning Musume。'16 member, will graduate from Morning Musume。'16 and Hello! Project at the end of Morning Musume。'16 Spring tour. 
Kanon Suzuki entered Morning Musume。 as a member of the 9th generation in 2011 and then performed for more than 5 years. She reported last year “I want to study to have a work related to the welfare”. After a discussion, it came to the conclusion of graduating at the end of the Spring Concert Tour of 2016. 
After her graduation she will follow another road, but I think she can take advantage of those 5 years of activities and experiences and she voluntary leaves with her own cheerfulness character and smile, and we will support her. 
During the remaining time until her graduation, she will try her best more and more as a Morning Musume。’16. Please continue to support Morning Musume。’16 and Kanon Suzuki. 
February 7th 2016UP-FRONT PROMOTIONRepresentative DirectorTakeshi Nishiguchi"
 Zukki's own version has been published through the same link.
"I, Kanon Suzuki, will graduate from Morning Musume。’16 and Hello! Project at the end of the Morning Musume。’16 Spring Tour. 
After I became a member, 5 years have passed, I thought about lots of things since last year about the current version of me and about my future. 
During those 5 years, I have been able to meet many people as Morning Musume。, I had many experiences and I have learned many important things about living.
 I became a member of Morning Musume。 I admired since I was small, and I believe through our activities we made many people smiled with our songs and performances. I do not know how far those feelings reached everyone but I really tried my best at the fullest. 
Since last year I seriously thought about my future, and since I was really small I thought "I want to help people" so from now on, what can I do? Every activities as Morning Musume。was meaningful and fun, and during one of them, the event "SATOYAMA movement", "SATOUMI movement", I have been in contact with people with a beautiful smile and I thought little by little it would be great if I can do the same work. 
There are many forms of "Being helpful to people"... but from now on, I feel strongly that I want to help people in another way, I want to make people smile, I want to make them happy. For this first step, I decided "I want a work related to the welfare" to go towards to my dream. 
For that reason, as a human I have to experience and study various things. 
Not as "Kanon Suzuki from Morning Musume。", but as "Kanon Suzuki", in order to live this life, I have decided to graduate to fulfill my new dream. 
I will continue Morning Musume。 activities to make those activities nourish me, also to cherish the time as Morning Musume。 and to not forget the feeling of gratitude I receive from everyone. 
Thank you for Morning Musume。'16 and for Kanon Suzuki. 
February 7th 2016
Morning Musume。'16
Kanon Suzuki"

... Huh.

Okay, so my immediate reaction to this was a 'what?' kind of attitude. Wide-eyed, pondering and processing it, thinking that it was no surprise and, weirdly, no tears of any sort. Then again, it is past 5am in England right now, and I am tired yet also battling many emotions from a crappy night at work; sadness has little priority here right now.

That said, it's been about a half hour since this news got out, and I'm starting to feel dread. Safe to say, I'm gonna be in tears tomorrow, because now two beloveds of mine are graduating this year, and in the God-damned Spring, no less.

Bye, semi-melted ice heart, it was good to know you beat a few times this year. I'll see you all iced and shiny this coming summer.

Really though, I'm not overly surprised that it's Zukki graduating next. Sad, yes I am, but surprised I am not, unless you count the timing, which yes, that surprises me, because I doubt any of us expected the next graduation from Morning Musume to happen this swiftly.
 Hell, I don't think I've seen an MM Grad this quick since the departure of Gaki months after Ai-butt left, and even then it was a longer period between graduations with those two.

Honestly, it does suck that Zukki's leaving, but I can't really blame her, either. She's 17, for crying out loud, an age where most girls and guys begin to think about potential careers they may want to enter in the future. She's had five years with both Hello! Project and Morning Musume, allowing her a decent amount of time to gain good work ethic as well as wonderful experience in a variety of areas, and she has seen both the good and the bad sides of the Entertainment Industry. Like Riho and her peers before, after and around her, she has experienced a lot in half a decade, and now she's chosen now to be the time she wants to move on. So yeah, I don't blame her; if you ask me, she's making a good decision.
 I won't lie though; I'll miss the crap out of her.

Zukki, sweet girl, was my favourite Morning Musume member, often rivaling for affection with Eripon, and at one point she had been my Top Idol. Since about a year ago things have changed and my love for Hello! Project and Morning Musume has skewed, but I will never forget the love and joy this girl brought me; she still makes me smile now, and I would totally cry if I ever had the chance to shake her hand (no chance of that now, aye?). I adore this girl, and nothing will ever stop me from adoring her, because Zukki will, forever and always, hold a place in my dark, dank heart.
 For me, she is the light of the Idol World, and I will miss her to Heaven and back.

She is a very important Idol to me. Like Gaki and Eripon, Ono Erena and Ayase Miho, she is an Idol I think highly of and adore.

I'm not crying now, but I know I will eventually, because it's freakin' Zukki. She has brought me so much since becoming an Idol fan, and I do know that, come her Graduation Day, I might just be a blubbering wreck, because for a very long time she was #1 in my heart.

I'm numb now, and I feel turmoil. I think the news is finally sinking in properly, and I am grasping what it all truly means. Tomorrow I will feel worse, but I know that Graduations happen, and that they are there for a reason. Zukki needs to move on, and honestly, I do too. I will always love her, but I do accept her departure. It is what I can do as a fan, as well as to continue supporting Morning Musume '16 here on out once she has left us for good.

Zukki is beautiful, and Zukki is strong. She's put up with so much, and now she will take her final path with Morning Musume '16. For five years now, Suzuki Kanon has graced us with her smile, her talent and her beauty, and for the future, she will continue to grace others with all of these things, continuously working in high spirits and a full smile.

But, until that day arrives, let's all simply treasure the time we have with Zukki. Sure, it'll be bittersweet, but at least we have the comfort of knowing that her Graduation won't feel rushed or sudden in any way. For all us Zukki fans, we will at least be able to watch over her for just a little bit longer.

Until next time.


Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Queens are Born! Houkago Princess Release 'Junpaku Antoinette's' Short MV and Covers!

On February 1st 2016, Houkago Princess released the short Music Video for their second singles title song, Junpaku Antoinette!

And to say that this was a highly anticipated release for the fans of the HouPri Kingdom is certainly an understatement!

A new story is about to begin...

A song that celebrates Odagiri Nana's up-coming 26th Birthday (February 18th, 2016) as well as Japan's White Day (March 14th), Junpaku Antoinette is said to be a song full of beautiful grace and yearning that is pure and enchanting.

Themed around the iconic French Queen, Marie Antoinette, Houkago Princess take their first step into becoming Queens for this beautiful Music Video whilst indulging in the popular confectionery macarons, and singing amidst scattered rose petals.

We also see the return of the story book here, of which was present in Seifuku Cinderella, and are royally transported into a world of beauty and grace that we have yet to see from Houkago Princess, one which I am ready to fall into and indulge in forever more.

I am already in love with this Music video. Honestly, just looking at its preview, I can already see that this is going to be one of the best directed Music Videos from the group since... well, since any of their latest Music Videos, because yeah, HouPri are always improving one way or another, whether its in their choreography, or how their videos look.
 And hey, it seems the terrible lighting situation is gone from Kiete, Shirayukihime, as well as the use of a terrible border... hooray for all!

But really, this is such a pretty Music Video, and the song! It's so sweet and sounds just like a chocolate bar commercial, In some ways, it reminds me of Endless Sky, except it has better vocals and feels that little bit more romanticised. I like that about it, and yeah, hearing this song makes me happy... especially knowing that, dang, Nana sounds really freakin' good! I didn't think that would happen any time soon!
 Also, I am looooving how they went from cute (Seifuku Cinderella) to cool (Kiete, Shirayukihime) to Romantic (Junpaku Antoinette). Their diversity in sound makes me so happy, and their consistency with this Princess / Royal theme makes me even giddier!

By the way, have you guys seen these covers yet? They're so regal and poised!

(Left: Regular Edition  |  Right: Limited DVD)
(Left: Odagiri Nana Solo ver.  |  Right: Miyashita Mayuka Solo ver.)
(Left: Yamaguchi Miran Solo ver.  |  Right: Ayase Miho Solo ver.)
(Left: Kizuki Saori Solo ver.  |  Right: Maika Solo ver.)
(Left: Sirosaki Himari Solo ver.  |  Right: Saho Michishige Solo ver.)

These honestly have to be their best costumes yet, they're so fluffy! I mean, I know they use the same kind of style from their previous two costumes, but I do enjoy seeing what the designers will come up with in the end, and honestly? These happen to by my favourite costumes since the Sailor Moon-esque ones used in Smile x3 ~Egao Zutto Saita mama de~. They are just so gorgeous and fluttery, and they don't look cheap! Score!

Also, I absolutely adore these covers! I felt that the Kiete, Shirayukihime covers seemed a bit doll like and lifeless, but these ones are definitely a step up and feel a lot more real and gentle. Plus, that backdrop! DANG!
 Flowers are becoming a somewhat significant theme in their covers as of late though, huh?

Really though, this PV, the costumes, the song... they make me feel so excited and happy, and I can't wait to see the full version when I can eventually get my hands on it! It's pretty, the video is one of their best, and I think that vocals wise, this is superb for HouPri. They keep stepping up their game, and I am forever left impressed. Seriously, this group... they make me so happy.

On a more somber note, Junpaku Antoinette happens to be the final single for 3rd generation member Ayase Miho, who will be leaving this coming March in order to pursue other things in life outside of the entertainment field. I'm sad, considering she is my Top member of HouPri currently, as well as my favourite Idol from all of 2015, however I know that Graduations happen, and this is meant to be.
 I still love her, and I will miss her, but I know she will have to leave and move on no matter what, and so I will also have to move on, no matter what. I will never forget the happiness she and delight she has brought me.

And rounding that up, the b-side for Junpaku Antoinette was recently revealed to be titled Sakura saku, a song that is about graduation. Sakura Saku will be Houkago Princesses second Graduation themed song after Sotsugyoushiki, released back in 2013. Members have stated that during recordings and performances, they cried many tears through the beauty and sadness of the lyrics.
 And yes, if it's that beautiful, I may cry too... because I will forever know this as Mihotan's final song, her Graduation piece. I pray she gets a solo line in it, at least!

A second story is about to begin, and Houkago Princess want to take you along with them! Will you indulge and fall into this beautiful world of Royalty and enchantment?

Junpaku Antoinette is set to be released on February 17th 2016, and your royal invitation has been delivered! Let's partake in all the sweets and delight HouPri are sure to deliver!

Until next time! Please stay happy, healthy, and always love your Idols!

Much Love,

Junpaku Antoinette / Hokago Princess
Grab your own copy of Junpaku Antoinette (Regular Edition) today, and support HouPri, too! You know you wanna! ;) <3

Friday, 29 January 2016

I Kill: DEEP GIRL Music Video & Bullying Discussion (Reader Discretion Advised)

All thoughts and opinions are simply my own. That is how it works here.

For my first Music Video Review of 2016, we're going to tackle a dark and emotional subject. Reader and Viewer discretion is advised.

I Kill is only the second single release from DEEP GIRL. A Rock-Idol unit who debuted just last year, these girls have their own TV show (DEEP GIRL), and are already tackling some of the worlds leading issues head on: Bullying, self-harm and suicide. There will be at least one topic here that we familiarise with, and yes, this will get personal.

It is a heavy topic to think and write about, so if you feel uncomfortable with such things, please do leave this post now. Thank you.

Monday, 25 January 2016

So, You Want to be an Idol Blogger? An Introduction to Idol Blogging: Part 2 (Design and Layout)

After sitting in limbo since July 2015, I have finally typed out and finished 'An Introduction to Idol Blogging: Part 2'! Hopefully you will all enjoy~

You can find Part 1 of this Introduction to Blogging Series HERE!

When you begin your journey as an Idol Blogger, there are a lot of things to take into consideration when creating and shaping your blog. From platforms to the content that you will eventually publish, there is a lot that goes into being a blogger, no matter what the topic you happen to write about. With Idol Bloggers, it's more about what Idols we would like to promote, and how we would like to present these Idols to potential readers and future fans. How to start out this journey, though?

We all have to begin somewhere within this community, and though blogging will take a lot of time, dedication, sweat and tears, it will all be worthwhile in the long run as you slowly build up your online profile, readership and dedicated followers. It does not all come at once, I am sorry to say, but if you stick it out long enough, you will see that all of your hard work and effort has become something amazing, and that you are noticed for what you are doing.

In this small series, I hope to introduce to beginner and potential writers advice regarding the ins and outs of Idol blogging, and to give them a step up in this ever-expanding community so that we can pave the way for the future Idol Bloggers of today. What I write here is knowledge from my own experience as a blogger of five years, as well as a desire to help out new and enthusiastic bloggers who may not know where to start in this world of Idols and writing. If I can help only a little bit, then I have done my job.

By no means am I an expert in the field of blogging or Idols, nor am I the sort of person who feels they can offer great advice, however what I can give is my insight and experience with blogging, and try to help others as much as I can. With this, I hope to show the joys of writing about Idols, and to bring even more bloggers to the realm of Idols, so that we can all share our passion together! If this is the post for you, then please, read on and enjoy!

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Leaving with Honors: Ayase Miho to Graduate Houkago Princess this March

On January 24th 2016, Ayase Miho made the announcement that, at the end of March this year, she would be graduating from Houkago Princess. Junpaku Antoinette will be her final single.

Ayase Miho, also known as Mihotan, made the announcement during her 25th Birthday live (her Birthday is officially on January 30th). Her reasons for leaving include that, currently, she believes this is the best lineup the group has had since its inception, and that she would like to leave on a high note. She also feels that right now, she would like to pursue something that is not within the entertainment industry.

As well as thanking the fans for their support and asking them to continue supporting her until her final performance, Miho has stated that she made this decision with no regrets, and that in order for Houkago Princess and herself to shine even more, this is the right thing for her to do.

You can find the announcement here.



My friend Akeda linked me to this announcement via Twitter, and when I saw the link, even in Japanese, I knew that an announcement was going to be announced. When he said that I would cry when I read it, I knew it was going to be Miho.

I cried. Of course I cried, because for over a year now, Mihotan was the member I wanted to know the most about. She was the member I liked the most.

The thing is, I expected a graduation announcement at some point this year from HouPri, but I don't think Miho was one of the girls I expected it from. Nana or Mayuka, yeah, but Mihotan? Not really. That said, I'm not entirely surprised, either.

This year on January 30th, Mihotan will turn 25, a big number to hit, if you ask me. She's an adult, she has been an adult for a while now, but for three years she has pursued activities within Houkago Princess and experienced the life of an idol, from the hardships to the fun times. She has done a lot since being a part of the group, including being a part of their major debut process.

And now, after 7 singles, a mini album and three years, Miho has decided that she would like to the leave the group with the best lineup it has ever had and pursue other things in her life. It's a big change, and it's one she's going to take with confidence and a smile on her face, because that is what Miho does.
 And of course, she will do it all at her own pace.

I am sad that it is Miho graduating. I would be sad if it was anyone else, too, but I know that this is a part of the Idol package; to graduate and move on, and to allow others a chance at being a part of the Idol group that is Houkago Princess. I just hope that when she does graduate, Miho will leave with the love and adoration she deserves from not only the fans, but the other members as well.

I will miss you dearly, Mihotan, but I am happy to know that you are confident in this choice of yours, and that you are ready to leave on a positive note in HouPri's history. Thank you you, for all you have done, and for all you will achieve.

"And, after my graduation, I will leave my entertainment activities behind and become an ordinary girl." - Miho Ayase, January 24th, 2016

 Until next time everyone. Please, love your Idols, and cherish the time that you have watching over them.


Friday, 22 January 2016

So, You Want to be an Idol Blogger? An Introduction to Idol Blogging: Part 1 (Starting Your Blog)

This post was originally created and written in July of 2015. It never made it to publication, despite being completed, due to Part 2 sitting in a state of unfinished limbo. Now, however, I will present to you a piece I have been excited about for a while now. Please, enjoy.

The Idol community is an ever-changing platform that will always bring in new fans and see old ones depart to new pastures overtime. For over five years now I have watched the community change along with my own fandom and desires, experienced fans who will come and go along with the changes in the Universe of the Idols. Sometimes, these fans move on to new groups, or maybe even leave this realm altogether. Not everyone stays here forever, you find.
 It's a community that, though sometimes difficult to be a part of, is one I love and adore, a passion that I am happy to share with others in a variety of ways. My favourite way to share my crazed love for Idols is here, on my blog. For many others, they also enjoy sharing what they love on their own blogs, youtube accounts or tumblr's - it depends on the fan and how you wish to show off your love and dedication to the group you have formed a bond with. Everyone is different.

Recently in the community of Idols, I have seen a sudden surge of interest in Idol Blogging come forth from a few of my friends and fellow Idol lovers, and surprisingly, some have even asked for my advice on starting a blog and how to go about it, asking for feedback and wanting to improve on their writing and content that they create. I try to help as much as I can, but honestly, I am no expert in this field - it's just something I love to do, a passion that is fueled from my love of Idols and Writing, however I do want to help people as much as I can if they have an interest in this field and want to pursue it as a pastime.

So, because of this surge of interest in Idol Blogging, I have decided to create a small series of posts that will, hopefully, introduce you all to Idol Blogging and try, as much as I can, to help others get into it, as well as to see the benefits of being an Idol Blogger and Lover.
 Even though I haven't done this as long as others have, I do hope that what I provide you all with will help you all to kick-start your own blogs and to become writers of the Idol Fandom many will follow!

So, with all said and done, I think that it is about time to start this post and introduce you all to the charms of Idol Blogging! Are you ready to go? Let's START!