Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tokyo Girls a.k.a. Tokyo Idols BBC Edit

Last month I wrote about the new documentary film TOKYO IDOLS which is currently playing film festivals.  I hadn't seen the film then so I could only comment on the trailer and the interviews with director Kiyoko Miyake.  Thanks to someone in a Facebook group I've joined I have seen the 59 minute edit shown on BBC 4, a U.K. TV station.  The version I watched late last night was only in 360p quality and has now been removed.  It seems there is also a 720p HD version also on YouTube and I will watch this as soon as I can.  I will link the video but I cannot guarantee that it will stay on YouTube.  I'm also going to be linking a fan comment on this edit of the movie that perhaps you'll want to watch first.  Apparently there has been some mistranslation of what the Japanese people in the film are saying.  

The first video I'm going to link is Amina du Jean's comment on the BBC edit.  This young African-American woman is living in Japan working as an idol herself!  She seems knowledgeable on the subject of idols and speaks Japanese.  Her video includes photos, some of which aren't used in the documentary.  Amina discusses what she does and doesn't like about the film and what it overlooked, in her opinion.  She doesn't believe (and neither do I) that the Japanese idol scene is represented as fairly and as in depth as it needed to be.  The documentary basically shows the surface of the idol scene and ignores some of the important parts, such as the female aspect of the idol fans.  Also, most of the fans shown in the film are over 30, some over 40 years old.  I've talked with young women (even Amina, although not recently) both on the internet and in person at Idol Matsuri in Silverdale, Washington back in 2014, and I know for a fact that women like this music.  People who are single, married or in some kind of relationship are fans of Japanese idol music.  People in all countries, of different sexual preferences, and from different cultural backgrounds love this music.  Yet, only a few male adult fans are shown in the film.  Amina claims in her video that the amorecarina fan has what he says mistranslated.  The person who made the subtitles for TOKYO IDOLS apparently wrote his comment in a way that implies sexual implication when there isn't.  That's not to say there aren't fans who think of sexual feelings when listening to this music, but that isn't always the case.  

The social commentators interviewed in this film are apparently opposed to all of this music, and
only some of the parents of these girls have something positive to say.  Another thing missing (in my opinion) are interviews with the people behind the scenes.  While some of these people who work at the companies who created the idol groups have the best interests in the idols, there are also a lot of slimy employees that take advantage of the girls.  I've heard rumors that some of the staff members actually coerce a date these teenage girls, while forbidding them to have a boyfriend their own age.  The "punishments" an idol endures whenever she breaks a rule are atrocious!  How these staff members get away with their behavior is a mystery that needs solved.  Now this is a 59 minute version of the movie and not the complete film.  It is possible that some of the comments in favor of this music were edited out of this version.  It's also possible that certain content was unsuitable for British TV.  Unless you have seen the full movie, it's hard to tell if the director, film editor and subtitle creator were truly trying to create a film that is totally biased against this music.  It does appear that way, though. 

I'm going to add some comments which I included on YouTube as a response to Amina's video, with some corrections.   

What bothers me as a fan of the idols whose parents were interviewed is the full names of the girls weren't used and some spellings were incorrect.  I was the first to write about amorecarina in English in my blog This Is Your Wake Up Call!  I have always thought the name of this group was one word spelled with all lower case letters.  And Oda Yuzuha is the full name of the member profiled.  The footage of amorecarina here was filmed in early 2015 and Yuzuha has now left the group.  So have several other girls briefly glimpsed in the clips.  Yuzuha said she wanted amorecarina to perform on a stage like Budokan.  She left the group possibly in 2016, but I was off the internet at the time, so I don't know exactly when.  She was a part of the offshoot group EDMKISS until May 3, 2016.  I'm sorry Yuzuha didn't achieve her dream.  She wasn't my favorite member, but I did like her.  I have the "Monster High" single amorecarina released, and I love it!  

The full name of Amu is Kayama Amu.  Harajuku Monogatari is an offshoot of Millennium Girls.  Note the Millennium Dance Complex shirt worn by a fan in the movie.  Again, Amu wasn't my absolute favorite, but I certainly did notice her in videos.  She was part of the six members of Millennium Girls who sang "Noisy Girl", the only single by Millennium Girls released outside of venues, which I have.  Too bad the single only has one song and an instrumental.  At least the amorecarina single has three songs and three instrumentals.  Both are worth tracking down if you haven't already added them to your collection.  

I'm not familiar with P.IDL so I won't comment on them.  I was not aware of Hiigari Rio prior to this movie.  After reading the subtitled lyrics to "Worship Me" and "Banzai! Banzai!" I am afraid I have been put off by this young woman and the writer / producer responsible for this single.  The song makes me want to do the opposite of worshipping her.  I want to avoid Rio and Hyadain (the songwriter and producer) like the plague!  Rio seemed sincere in the movie and I was starting to sympathize with her, then she makes me vomit as I see her strings being pulled by the puppet master producer.  For having gone along with the recording of this single I have now less than zero respect for her.  

My comments might seem a little harsh in regards to Rio, but this is how I felt after watching the finals few minutes of the movie.  Unfortunately there are a lot of idols who follow down the same path, letting their careers be pulled in whatever direction that the producer wants.  Perhaps this is what Rio and other idols want (and maybe the fans too), but a lot of this songwriting and attitude gets a bit much after a while.  This music is meant to be fun, not egomaniacal and self-important.   


Here is the short version of the documentary.  I hope it stays on YouTube long enough for everyone to watch.  


As always, thank you for reading my blog.  I hope you have a great day.        

Monday, July 24, 2017

New Idol Music I'm Listening To

As I mentioned last month it is hard for me to really dislike music, even though the greatest music groups are now gone and some of the best singers have now left us.  But without music life is very meaningless.  So I decided it was time to share some of the videos for recent idol groups I am interested in.  I won't go into a lot of details, but I feel these groups are among the better indie idols still performing this type of music.  I hope you'll give all of these idols some of your time.

A company by the name of D.O.G. Productions have created a bunch of idol groups under an umbrella name of GIF39s (Gifu Thanks).  My personal favorite is Showa ☆ Tokimeki Gumi.  The group debuted on March 25, 2017 and have a 1980s sound.  The names of the members are Hinata Jyuri, Nakamura Amane and Mio (I don't know her family name).  The second song in this video, "Dancing Hero", is my personal favorite.  I want to thank my friend Tyler Draper for helping me out with researching info and talking with me as I learned about this group.


Menkoi Girls are an idol group that sometimes includes calligraphy in their performances.  The group formed on September 25, 2011 and are based in Tatebayashi City.  The group currently has 14 members, although there were 15 until March of this year.  Hazuki (the group only uses given names) graduated on March 19, 2017 in order to become a teacher.  The oldest member now is Yuki, who is 22.  Menkoi Girls also have three subunits, Menkoi Girls Salad, MG-Wing and MG-Pen Pen (actually Pen squared).  There are so many good songs and performances it's really hard to choose just one video for this group.  I should mention that all of the official videos I've seen have top-notch special effects.


RIOT BABY is a Tokyo-based group that formed in October 2016 by Planet Earth, Inc.  The group consists of young idols who were previously in idol groups formed by Love Mark Stage / Production-I.  They go by their given names only, but I can give you their full names!  Nakahara Aina is a former member of both RABBIT KICK and Campus.  Sisters Sakura Rin and Kae were both in Onigokko.  RIOT BABY released an E.P. on April 12, 2017 named "By My Side", which is also the name of the single.  It seems to be aimed at the skater rock crowd.  Aina even wears a Suicidal Tendencies hat in the video.  If you are looking for some fun rock music, look no further!  

     

A 13-year-old who only goes by Yuuna these days (her full name is Higaki Yuuna) made her original song debut in January 2017 after a few years of performing covers in groups such as Jewelry☆doll and YU-NA with Luxury dolls.  Not only is this Osaka girl a real cutie, but she sings and plays the guitar.  Her debut single (which may be a venue-only sale item) is "Happy girl!!"  This song is pretty rockin' and I give it my highest recommendation.  If you like it then subscribe to her official YouTube channel and listen to her other performances.  She's pretty awesome!  


Well, I hope everyone likes these videos.  Comments are always welcome.  Thanks everyone for reading and have a great day!