It’s the end of another year here at the Selective Hearing HQ, which can only mean a look back at the year that has passed us all in a flash of colour, laughter and tears. So, with another year behind us, why not venture a look back at what 2012 has brought us?
The Year of Graduation
I continuously dub this year as the year of Graduation, and you really can’t fault me on thinking that way. The Idol world has reared an ugly head, and many girls have left, or announced their departures, from certain groups that plenty of people love, and you can’t deny that most of these girls were important to their groups, especially when it concerns the departure of Maeda Atsuko and the oncoming leave of Morning Musume’s Leading Squirrely, Winky/Tanaka Reina.
My my this year has certainly been busy in regards to graduations (and disbandment’s). I will never forget the tears I shed when I realised that Gaki would be leaving the limelight and forcing Morning Musume to become an auto-tuned mess of shrieking vocals and talentless noobs… -sigh-
But Morning Musume and the 48 Family aren’t the only ones who have lost members this year. Houkago Princess went through vast changes with many of their girls leaving and adding a new generation of trainee’s, with one of my favourite members (Yuuki) leaving to find greener pastures and better agencies. Station♪ will also be losing their first member ever since their debut this year, a girl who is my eye candy of the lot, Narumi. Actually she leaves December 29th, so I will shed many manly tears in my mind or when I eventually go to sleep.
Actually, in regards to the year that has passed, I’ve lost quite a few members I like. I lost Gaki and Aika in Morning Musume, two girls I had taken a particular shine to (mostly Gaki, of course, she is My Lord and Saviour) as well as favourites from two Indies units that barely anyone recognizes (sad but true). I also lost Rose Gardenfairy of Afilia Saga East this year, too, though my love transferred to Kurumi Lala Milk soon after, but still. Next up I’m losing Mano Erina. Wow this year loved me in terms of getting rid of the girls I adore and lust after… er, I mean idolize.
So, if anything, this year has been a kick in the balls for fans of certain groups. It’s been graduation after graduation really, and it’s pretty shocking that so many girls have left their groups or have announced that they are jumping ship. I’m just praying to Lord Gaki, my Savior, that a certain girl doesn’t graduate any time soon, because I’ve only just started liking her for all her gorgeous glory! Don’t screw me around, 2013!
Debuts and Whatnot
Aside from departures, tears and heartbreak, this year has shown some debuts as well, the most notable being Naabadoufu@Nana and Station♪ for me. Really, I don’t think that I have ever been so excited to see someone release a single like I am with Nana or Station♪. Both the group and Nana are really great and I love what they have produced, especially Station♪ who are like freakin’ rockets with their releases! Four singles, one digital and the other three physical, and an album in one year? That’s pretty damn good I think! The girls are only Indies right now, but they really know how to cater to their listeners!
I would also like to mention LoveLaDoll and Show Luo who have both respectively debuted in Japan this year. LoveLaDoll are Indies, much like Station♪ are, but their focus is on their cute dances. There are three members; Aya, Kana and Lee, with Lee being Chinese whilst Aya and Kana are both of Japanese decent, though you don’t notice Lee’s heritage until she speaks, but singing wise, she is very good with her pronunciation. As a group, I like LoveLaDoll – they’re so cute! I would love to see them perform one day! Regarding Show Luo, he is a Taiwanese singer who I followed before he even debuted in Japan, but only for his acting as opposed to his singing. I do love his voice though! He’s just adorable and wonderful!
And where would this debut section be without Weather Girls? My lord the Weather Girls! Their debut was probably the best debut of the year; it’s catchy, cute and so much fun to listen to! Koi no Tenki Yohou is a wonderful song and one of the best debuts I have listened to! Also reigning from Taiwan, these girls have only actually debuted in Japan and don’t have a contract in their home country, which is somewhat surprising but hey, I love them as they are!
So this year has been pretty decent for debut’s, though the debut’s have not been as prominent as the Graduations! Oh my!
Hello! Project gets Hot!
In terms of Hello! Project, I think that this year has been pretty killer for them all! Promotion is better than ever, the songs were diverse and different and the girls are basically all stunners, unless they are Meimei and Riho.
We also had the creation of the much awaited and anticipated sub-units, kick-ass and decent songs, trips to Thailand, Paris and China and lots of damn good B-side tracks courtesy of shuffling Morning Musume members around. Oh, and Oda Sakura – decent vocals in Morning Musume will lead!!!
Also; C-ute kicked ASS, Berryz actually appealed to me (YAY!), Mano Erina became a mature sex bomb (YES!!!), a sub-unit based on legs was created and Morning Musume began the year as Chickens and finished as Halloween Candy bags.
Pretty good, ya know?
A Change of Pace
One of the most notable things that changed during this year from last is that I’ve really broken out of my shell and taken to new units and groups outside of the Hello! Project family and truly started to broaden my horizons, finding out what I like and don’t like along the way. One of the things that I have found out is that Nogizaka46, as you may all know, is a group that I really can not stand for their lack of diversity and talent. Their terrible costumes are also a turn-off for me.
But I’ve found that I also quite like AKB48 now, though the year that has passed hasn’t been the best for them in terms of diverse sound, with only UZA really standing out in terms of a new and distinct sound.
I’ve also found myself enjoying Indies groups more and more now as the year has passed, and I’m continuously looking for new groups to enjoy and experience. It’s actually nice to break away from what I know and try something new, and I’ve really come to like some groups such as Fudanjuku and AAA through experimentation of sound. I also managed to (somehow) rekindle my Love Affair with Kikkawa Yuu over the year, so it’s all good~
Of course when you gain interest you can also lose interest, and sadly my interest in Houkago Princess has slowly drained throughout the year – and I totally blame that on their new system where they produce a single and release it exclusively to people who attend concerts and never make PV’s or release a damn preview for the song. Also the departure of Yuuki and co. kinda derailed me a little, though I am thankful that Hitomi is still there. But again, my interest in this group has nearly run dry, and that’s due to lack of exposure, PV’s and songs.
Sucks to be a HouPri fan right now.
J-pop in General
In general, I think that this has actually been a really good year for J-pop! Yeah, it’s had its ups and downs in terms of mass graduations and disbandment (SDN48, Ebisu Muscats), but it’s also been pretty good. AKB48 are better in the PV department, and whilst Hello! Project aren’t necessarily the most creative in the PV department, their songs have been damn good and better than ever, well, unless you’re S/mileage, because this year their music was pretty… well it’s okay, but not the best. Overall, J-pop has had a good run for 2012. The graduations were sad, yes, but they have happened and we can not turn back the clock to stop what has already been done.
Selective Hearing and I
It’s been my first full year as a member of the Selective Hearing staff, and whilst I have not been the most active, I have really enjoyed being a part of the crew. It’s been great sharing groups, dissing and happiness with you all! Hopefully 2013 will be filled with more Idols and fun here!
And before I go off, a big welcome to my lovely friend and Kohai, Nia! Having her as a part of the Selective Hearing staff was something I really wanted, because I adore her writing and you know what? We need some more Perfume in here! So welcome Nia, and good luck for 2013! Let the reviews begin! (Muahaha!)
The Final Word
2012 has been a sad year, but it’s also been a good one. We have heard good and bad music, lost loved members but also gained new members along the way and seen certain Idols blossom (coughEriponcough). Now, here’s to a better 2013, one where AKB48 will get decent music and Morning Musume will get budgeted PV’s without the sparkles and glitter.
Oh, and a happy New Year to you all too! Have a good one, and to many more with Selective Hearing!