December 16, 2010

Momoi, level 33 magician

It's been a long time since I last did a Momoi blog translation (see Akiba stabbings) but I think her recent birthday entry was a pretty interesting piece that she spent a lot of time on and reflects on her 10 year career. Momoi has always been the master of long awesome MCs that make you proud to be otaku, and this written entry is definitely channeling some of that energy so I felt like I should share it in case you haven't read it yet.

My skills still aren't that great, so please excuse any TL errors. She also drops a lot of references to her songs or other events so I included them as footnotes for what I know. Even then, there's still some stuff that even I can't recognize. If you're fluent you can read the original entry here. I hope you can read this and continue to be inspired by how Momoi thinks and appreciate her views. It's rare for a singer to be able to form such a close connection for fans, and every day as a Momoist I feel very lucky for it.



Level 33 approaches (^^) <- Warning: LONG

Moi! 1

Thank you to everyone who attended the live yesterday. Thanks for the flowers, flowers filled with feelings, presents, and letters. And comments on my blog, twitter, and mixi too.

Today for me, for one day, I became an eternal housesitter. 2

It was already announced at the live, but a Momoi-produced wristwatch is being released to commemorate my 10th Anniversary since debut in collaboration with the popular overseas brand "Red Monkey"

People who like guitars might be familiar with the name I think?

Actually I've been in business talks with the designer for a while gradually coming to this point. Please see the details here: http://s.ameblo.jp/momoi-ktkr/entry-10735949208.html

It's quite a good product! In fact I wore it when I did the encore! Nyaha
I wanted to explain that particular point here...anyway, since people might get ahead of themselves, I'll leave it.

On 12/14 I'll become Lv.33.
Well, to put it simply, it's my [wota]birthday (^^)

Since it was a good chance, I figured I would put my thoughts today into a big writeup. It's a challenge for my sloppy writing. I'm just doing a brain dump of what I'm thinking right now, right this moment, so please excuse it (^^)

This year has been the year where I've traveled the longest distance in my entire life up to now.

I have had lives in Hawaii, San Jose, Las Vegas, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Hongkong, and domestically in Niigata, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukushima, Gifu too.

I was able to go to many different places for events and sing.

To everyone I've met there, I'm really grateful to you. Thank you. I was really glad to be able to receive your feelings at the autograph and handshake sessions (^^)

I've loved anime and its related stuff ever since I was a child. You could say I was an "original" wota.

Since being able to provide the voice for characters, create songs, and getting the support from "anisong" fans, I think has made me very happy. Even though I always felt that way, when I got invited to overseas anime conventions and interacted with the people there it made that feeling even stronger. Though I am of course part of the production side of the industry, it was really easy to make friends with people of the world.

I'm glad that I'm otaku.
I'm glad that I love Akihabara.

Thinking that, I teared up.

Today, Tokyo approved a new regulation that restrict the expression of anime and manga. Of course, I am against this. Though I read a lot of opinions on the web, a common argument I saw was "restriction anime-related stuff would be a huge hit to the economy."

That certainly is true, business is very important, but even above that, to me Japanese anime and its related products are the content that can link people together. That is the novel sensation and dynamic ideas. Surely we should freely express that.

The young man from Germany 3 ran up to me at the end of the show. "Momoi-san do you like Keion?" I heard in shaky Japanese. "Yes, I love it" I replied with a full smile and left with a GUTS-POSE.

When I cosplay a character I like, people who don't know the character will still take pictures and that makes me smile. But when I cosplay Anise and people greet me with "Anise!" then we instantly become closer even though we can barely understand each other's language. Is there anything more amazing than that?

Speaking of amazing things, I've always wanted to be a musical magician. Like Afilia Saga East4, I'm an apprentice witch.

I want to be able do the kind of magic like you see when people cry during the chorus of "Auld Lang Syne" or "Aogeba Totoshi" at graduation ceremonies. That is, magic to be able to communicate to a person's heart even without having to communicate through words.

It is a miraculous moment that engulfs you in mysterious unity and joy. And my direct experience with that has been through lives.

Such as yesterday's 10th anniversary one-man live and final tour, I didn't really want to dwell in the past. Rather I sang with all my heart on "now". Not 10 years ago, or yesterday, or tomorrow, I just wanted the feeling of the live to be "now." And thanks to you, I was able to do that.

The first song was "Inpaku Ondo" wwww were you surprised? I made this song in the year 2000, my debut year.

I put the set list together based on my judgement.

Thank you for the callbook. Though you treat my songs with such care and I'm always happy about that, this time it was full color. My spirit was pumped and I got a lot of courage. But..I didn't sing a lot of songs from it. Seriously, (´・ω・) Sorry! www

I chose songs that were all written by me and that I felt would best transmit the feeling of now. (I tearfully agonized to cut out some songs too! Like Mebius Ring and so on...well there's next time!)

However you could say they were songs that had melodies and lyrics truly from my heart, and could use my entire body to sing. I know it's a huge task.

Songs I happily wrote thinking "There isn't anyone making a song like this, therefore I'll do it"

That there are people who liked and accepted them, it was a miraculous chance.

Actually I was a little worried about this year's IVY release. Last year's "Henji ga nai, shitsuren no you da" album had kind of a depressing theme, but this year even more so.

Originally I was thinking to send a basically positive message, but at the time I was only able to come up with "hopeless" songs.

"My face, age, education. None of them are enough" 5 and lyrics like that wwww.

But since it's bad to sing a lie, I tried to use that for the song honestly. Then IVY also has songs that support my depressing self www

In a stuffy atmosphere, but, there should be an time to continuing aspiring.
I wanted to say "I will remove your handcuffs"6

But, really something like

Momoi: "I will remove your handcuffs"
* "Huh? I'm handcuffed. I hadn't noticed until now."
* "Thanks for teaching me Momoi. Now I'm ok, I can undo them myself."

Might be saying it the best way...(^^) Well I'm leaving that kind of interpretation up to you (^^)

So during the live MC, I couldn't just say "thank you." I didn't want yesterday's live to be my "life's one memory" just yet. Because I think there should still many many more fun times for myself and everyone!

Since we happen to live in the same age! Though there is a chance it sometimes comes back to me when I open up everything, that's ok isn't it?

Let's definitely meet again!!! (^^)

Until then, lets just keep thinking about yesterday's enjoyment.

Now, somehow here's a quote from my diary on this day December 14th, 10 years ago:

----
2000/12/14

"D's Theater 2000 in Tokyo Dome"

After eating "Hit and lunch (makunouchi bento)" I went to the stage.

Actually I was already dizzy (laugh) I had already forgotten when I came out. Kitagawa-san and Sugiyama-san's team "GO Nou", Yuuji-san's "Kigurumi Zoo the Movie" in the morning, and the special screening of Tomioka Satoshi-san's "Gas Tank Mania". I especially want to show respect for the CG creators of the works. After that, I thought it was wonderful to showcase indies artist on the Tokyo Dome's big screen in front of 5000 people. For my work that I laboriously produced in my own room to be stared at by 10000 eyes. Aah. Even at the end it was a able to cause me great joy. Job well done. And thank you to everyone who came to see it. It was enjoyable!

----

10 years ago, I stood in Tokyo Dome huh...wwwlolwww.

Actually I recently had a chance to re-establish contact with Tomioka-san mentioned in this diary just a few days ago on twitter. Why, he came to see my live. It was a 10 year reunion. Since then Tomioka-san has made various anime titles. Currently every loves "Usavich" right?

When I was able to debut my single in 2000, I wanted to create music for a living and I was able to contract with the company. But unlike now, I didn't have many orginal songs nor was I able to do lives. I didn't have the DTM skills, or plans to release CDs. Now in 2010, I have over 100 original songs, and sold out performances at Stellar Ball... (;-;)

Not that I've counted the number, and I say this hoping there's no misunderstanding but honestly compared to 4 years ago at the same location, seeing so many people come to see me was really moving.

Thank you for the blog comments. There were really people from so many different places who came for me. And everyone's face had the best expression for me. Well, though the talk about the live just happened, the excitement hasn't died down yet so please forgive me.

Actually the live was recorded...I want this for people who came to be able to re-live it, and people who couldn't come to be able to enjoy it together with us as well. Right now doing Mokomoko 60 Minutes, as a special item for the "Kyuukyoku no CD", I wonder if we can include the DVD??? Toruso-san, wwww I'll rely on you!!!!

Since this became really long, I'll cut things off here.

It's a little early, but...

I'm thankful for birthday wishes.
I'm thankful to have been born!

MoiMo-i


Notes:

1. Moi is something she picked up in Finland last June and now uses a lot. Derived from Finnish expression "Moi Moi" which of course sounds like Momoi!
2. Reference to Eien no Orusuban, a song on the IVY album about a heartbroken person who withdrew from the world
3. German guy is @gin_update aka Kapitaen Momoisten who is the only foreigner to have attended every single show of the IVY tour
4. Afilia Saga East is an idol group co-produced by Momoi and Shikura Chiyomaru
5. 「顔も年も学歴も/全部叶わないけれど」 are lyrics from The wall ~koerarenai kabe~, a song on the IVY album about a one-sided love
6. 「手錠はわたしが外してあげよう」 are lyrics from the album's title track "IVY" about throwing off shackles and looking toward a bright future

Posted by Paranda at 6:04 PM | Comments (1)

October 6, 2010

Momoi tour weekend - Hajimete no Live House

10/2 and 10/3 were my final concerts for this year's Japan trip. The first day, I actually was dead tired as I only just crashed after a huge 30 hour run involving of 2 trips to dearstage, all-night karaoke, and a DisneySea trip with jouttex and gin_update. I had to force myself up and onto a train at 10AM in order to get to Niigata again.

Live #1 took place in Niigata, and LIve #2 took place one day later in Koriyama. The fan prep this time was pretty serious. Lots of people came in with fully loaded UO belts and Momoi branded hosters, couple of guys in sailor uniforms, and one guy came in a flight suit totally covered in ivy and green lights (see Momoi's Ivy album cover). Hiro, the dude I met during MOSAIC.WAV live in Kyoto also changed into touhou cosplay with UO waist belts, boot holsters, crisscrossed light bandoliers, Momoi wrist guards and handcuffs, and pulled out both light claws which now had ivy draped all over it.

For set list, I'll list Niigata and contrast with Koriyama. Both halls were pretty small, though the layout for Koriyama was superior. Left is Niigata, right is Koriyama.

1. LOVE.EXE (Hide and Seek)

During day 1, Momoi came out in a cute plaid outfit. During day 2, she had a complex looking silk dress and headpiece. Both days, she started out with old favorites that pump the crowd. Though I like LOVE.EXE, since I've heard it so many times at lives it was nice to hear Hide and Seek on the second day. When she opened with the new song on day 2, it confirmed that she was going to vary the set list so I got really excited again not knowing what might come next.

2. Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

A fun song with call and response with fans. Before the start of the song, Momoi introduces herself in a short MC. During this, it's a tradition for fans to do a rallying call where whoever is in the center-front lights a UO and goes "Se-no" and rallies a huge single coordinated cry of "Momoi". In Koriyama, we actually messed up the first call so Momoi changed her MC around a bit to set up a really obvious second chance for us to repeat. There was also an amusing moment when Momoi asked who was local to the region. The number of locals were really dwarfed by the number of traveling fans, who were all up at the front. It really shows how her events are primarily dominated by core FC groups.

3. Shouri no megami

During this song, there are unique "Momoi Haruko" chants, "aoi romance" which leads into romance, and coordinated claps. Throughout the song, people held up blue towels matching Japan's World Cup team color. That's because it was written by Momoi for the 2010 World Cup. After this song, everyone was sweating really hard including Momoi.

4. Koi no recipe (GURA GURA)

Nostalgia corner. For both songs, Momoi did an MC introducing the track and circumstances of their production. Koi no recipe was a surprise because it's an UNDER17 song outside of her usual "Angel Rabbie." When it hit, a lot of possibilities for what else could be in the set list was swimming through my head. Unfortunately, the ultimate song on my still-haven't-heard-live wishlist "Ichigo Go Go" did not make it in on either day. If it does appear eventually on any of the dates, I will kick myself for not scheduling better.

5. E.S.P. Thanks to Mamichan

Participation involved making the hand sign (like "kira") and waving during the beep beep beep beep parts. This song was released on the new album, but it's actually been out for a while. Unfortunately before the release the only way to get the CD was by buying a $500 Mamichan DVD box set or bidding off auctions sites at around $150.

6. Mail Me

During introductory MC, Momoi made comments on both days reflecting on how times changed since she released this song ten years ago. She said in 2000, if you got keitai mail from someone you liked that would be really special, but now it's just really common occurence since everybody mails everybody now.

7. Jienotsu Song 2

This is nearly as good as the original, and just as tiring. There's was a lot of punching and yelling.

8. The Wall

The break song that couldn't come soon enough. We just did simple claps and not much jumping.

9. Eien no Orusuban

Same as above, but I like this song.

10. Figure ni Naritai (Ima anata ga suki)

Similar to what happened during Yukarin's acoustic corner, fans just stay quiet and just enjoy the singing without worrying about calls.

11. 21 Seiki (Friendship)

Friendship is another one of those songs we haven't heard a lot in the US so I appreciated her including this in the set list. Speaking of US, on day one, Momoi did an MC about her overseas tours and asked if overseas fans were here. Since we already met so many Momoists, it was kind of funny how a bunch of people in the crowd just turned around and started pointed at us before we even said anything. Germany and New York got to represent, as Momoi later tweeted.

12. Akihabalove (Space Love)

During Space Love, a couple of times I was like "uh wow, it's like she's singing right at me" and thinking it was really nice that she was singing to the crowd instead to some vague central point above our heads like many singers tend to do. This was later confirmed during MC, when she actually asked if everyone got sung to. She wanted to remember all the faces and didn't want anyone to be missed.

13. WONDER MOMO-i (Ichigo Ichie)

For Niigata. It was already unbearably hot ever since the first song, but when we all rushed forward for the final UO segment of WONDER MOMO-i, we ran into a WALL of heat. The stage was like an oven.
For Koriyama, my reaction: Ichigo (OMG) Ichie (Awwww). Well nothing against Ichigo Ichie but I was waiting for the OTHER ichigo song.

14. music as muse

I guess we take english titles for granted, but most people actually didn't know what a muse was so Momoi explained it during MC.

15. Break down, break dance

The beginning of the end. Starting from here, every song was fast paced and there were few/no MC breaks. The chorus for Break down, Break dance contains complicated hand motions that I still don't really know. Guys in front of me were doing them, but I just did regular cheering at my own pace. I was next to kiriwari the second day and it seems like he just did normal calls as well.

16. Henji ga nai, tada no shitsuren no you da (Naito de naito)

Henji ga nai was survivable, but Naito de naito = death. I did max jumping during this, and it was so hot... After we finished, people were gasping for air and just laughing nervously at what would come next. Momoi had a smirk like she knew we were at the limit.

17. SWEET CANDY

18. Motto, Yume, Miyou (Tenkuu no Sprite)

Another bonus you get when you go to a Momoi "live house". Free sauna. But be careful, floor is slippery when wet! Tenkyuu no Sprite has a similar "crunch" verse, which means people piled into the front. If you're not familiar, when I refer to crunch I mean this:

19. IVY

The "last" song, and ultimate finisher. For Ivy, everyone uses ultra green glowsticks. I heard IVY a couple of of times on mokomoko and youtube but I never really appreciated it. It wasn't until on day 2 in Koriyama, that I just got hit with the realization "oh...damn this is REALLY good live." Through a combination of factors, this performance pretty much provided one of my highest concert experiences probably rivalled only by those times running onto the stage with Momoi. On day 1, I was kind of distracted trying to keep up with the specific hand signs for "I", "V", and "Y" to do during the chorus but having gone through the learning experience once, I was in full participation for the next one and Momoi really made it worthwhile. There were no barriers of any kind between the stage and us, so she leaned way deep into the crowd and was nearly grabbing peoples' outstretched hands.

Finally we yelled the special "mitai" chants for Momoi

20. Saigo no Rock (WONDER MOMO-i)

During day 1, the layout didn't really allow it due to the support posts but the UO crunch for WONDER MOMO-i was extremely tight. It was really fun way to end the concert. Momoi got a long UO from a fan and the same moves back to us. She was also so close she started high-fiving people at the end.

Aside from the awesome live experience, it was good to meet all the Momoists again. I saw coverman, tetsu, panda, omit, nyol, E_A_moto, kiriwari, vesper, shiraju, kusamaru, hiro, plus some new faces. About an hour after the Koriyama live, Silli and I randomly bumped into Suzuki-san on the street. I thanked him for the tickets, but he said "No I want to thank you for making the trip." He also asked if we were gonna stay in Koriyama or not. I told him my schedule, and in usual Suzuki-san fashion he reciprocated by revealing his own schedule for the night. They were gonna take the train back the same day, but I decided not to be crazy stalker this time since I already checked into my hotel.

Final goods: I picked up the new 10th anniversary themed red and blue glowsticks, a yellow version of the new shirt, extra Ivy album with stick poster, and towels. I also tried to pick up shirts for priz and tenton, but Nakano searched all of his boxes for a while and couldn't find the correct shirt size. He also explained they weren't stocking between Niigata/Koriyama, so Gin is gonna have to try grabbing those shirts in Nagoya.

Posted by Paranda at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)

June 14, 2010

Fanime day 3 and 4

Last post for Fanime to tie up loose ends.

Day 3

5/30 was the final day for Momoi quest. Our group had a late breakfast at Peggy Sue's, a local diner that served massive plates of french toast and pancakes, and then headed to wait in line for Quest #5. The performance started at 12:00 in the large karaoke room. I was sort of worried about crowd attrition given the multiple quests, but the attendance remained high. Momoi came in with her uniform, and a pair of wings as an accessory. Set list was:

1. Shooting Star
2. Romantic Summer
3. LOVE.EXE

I packed light so I actually forgot I needed a yellow glowstick for Shooting Star and just jumped with pink. During Romantic Summer, it was cool to see that several people had studied the moves. As for LOVE.EXE, again many people remembered from last year or looked up the song online and knew to produce UO at the correct time. Jumping was slightly hampered by rows of seats. After the event was over, Momoi announced her next quest would be the same day in a ballroom at 6PM. We scoped out the ballroom later and were delighted to find it was spacious and standing room only.

After getting stamps, we headed over to Charity auction after that to look at bids. Each item was signed by all Fanime guests. From our group, Silli won the tamborine for $70 which he planned to use for the concert. The cowbell went over $90 and Guitar for over $150 (not sure how much surplus they could have made on that one).

Then we lined up outside the ballroom for the long wait. Several hours later, Momoi passed by and began her soundcheck. When we started handing out glowsticks, security stopped us and said glowsticks had been banned after earlier incidents. I guess glowsticks get a bad reputation due to ravers here, but thanks to several people including some staff vouching for us, they deemed Momoi fans behaved enough to have them and distribution resumed. Thank goodness, because everyone really put them to good use as you can see here.

Quest for Momoi #6

Quest 6 set list:

1. Ai no medicine
2. Wonder Momoi
3. Yume no Baton
4. LOVE.EXE

While the room was large, the stage was extremely small. Since without the chairs there were absolutely no physical barriers, we ended up getting pushed way too close by everyone that if anyone fell they would have landed on the stage. I guess that's how it works with indie bands in the States? When the maids went up on stage, Momoi was a bit surprised but let them stay on for the entire duration of the live. As a bonus she did 4 songs this time, with LOVE.EXE acting as a bonus "encore" of sorts (though not really, since we didn't even have a chance to chant).

The raffle was held immediately after the concert. Mini-prizes were the actual physical stamps used to stamp Momoi quest cards, and the final "grand prize" was a trip to the maid cafe to enjoy dessert with Momoi. One of the fans from Japan managed to win a stamp.

After leaving the ballroom, we ended the day at the convention with a big group picture. Later, Yoshisawa invited Momoists to a karaoke joint. Since Momoi didn't sing any of her newer songs, it wasn't hard to find people to tag along for some DIY makeup tracks. Karaoke with Momoi fans inevitably involves people whipping out glowsticks and doing calls for anybody who goes up singing. As a side note, that place we went to sure had a lot of obscure otaku tracks. We were able to do stuff like Jienotsu Song! Color me impressed. I admit I'm a bit guilty of blasphemy here though because the only song I personally sang was "Fancy Baby Doll" - a YUKARIN song. *gasp* GET THAT TRAITOR!

Day 4

Not much for day 4 so I'll just combine it with Day 3 post. The only Momoi event was autograph signing.

Autograph Session #2

Finally, we took our last group picture and waved goodbye to Momoi. Quest complete. Final stats:

Items acquired:

Wisdom gained:
Don't be paranoid about DOF. f/7.0 is overkill. Lower aperture, reduce ISO, and pump flash next time for the group pic. Less noise that way...

And many memories. Thanks everyone for making it a great experience for me.

Posted by Paranda at 12:35 AM | Comments (3)

June 9, 2010

Fanime day 2

Since I finished my last CFA exam last week, I can finally forget it forever (unless I failed). But now I can close out the last few days of Fanime, which I'll say was and probably will be the best trip I've taken all year for various reasons, even factoring 2 other events I still plan on going to.

Day 2

You know you're off to a strange start when the group makes an early excursion to Whole Foods for breakfast, and the first thing you hear is an employee making a "har har it must be Halloween" comment - this store was well outside the range of the convention area and our party included a dude wearing cat ears and a girl in a panda costume. It was a minor reaction though, compared to the time when a waiter gave us the evil eye for being in concert gear at the CN tower rotating restaurant. And nothing compared to that time in 07 when we did a cyalume run exploring hardware stores in downtown Long Beach with chibitech dressed in full meido drag.

Quest 3

After returning, we lined up outside the karaoke hall for Quest #3. The previous day, due to running out of time, the panel actually forgot to mention the location so we were kind of worried when the line looked pretty short. Luckily it filled up just before the show started.

Quest for Momoi #3
Momoi came back in her signature sailor fuku as made famous in Yume no Baton. For the format of the events (several scattered mini lives that relied on people following signs and hints), she wouldn't be changing costumes. That's fine though, this has always been my favorite one post-U17 and it makes up for when she didn't wear it last year. What did change during each quest though was the hairstyle.

This time was a rare casual style.
Quest for Momoi #3

Momoi seems kind of hesitant to play her newer original stuff though. Again, this time the tracklist was a cover song, and two established fan favorites. I guess she's trying hard to tailor the list to her American audience, but I kind of wanted to hear at least something from the new album.

1. Get Wild
2. Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbi
3. Motto Yume Miyou

Well, Tenbatsu is always fun for doing calls. It is always another front row chance to cheer for a UO-type song after all.

After the mini-live, we took a quick break and then moved over to Stage Zero again in case Momoi showed up for the Fanimaid performance like she had done last year. Each maid had a repertoire of idol moves and songs memorized with pretty good accuracy, and Momoi was impressed they stepped up their game to include singing in addition to dancing. However, since she was crunched for time and had to host a panel right after, she only stayed in the guests area this time and didn't jump into the crowd to lead calls.

Fanimaid Live

Quest 4

Quest 4's panel format was pretty much the same as Quest 2's. Although they are given unique names like "Halko Momoi and Industry", she doesn't give a themed speech or anything like that - just regular Q&A. These will probably be uploaded by Autolooper at some point. Highlights to look for are:

Momoi asking if anybody watched Kodomo no Jikan, followed by a complete silence in the room. After an awkward pause, one guy slowly raises his hand. Momoi looks him in the eye and just deadpans "you are lolicon."

And Momoi singing "Take me out to the ball game" and playing on her keytar, but forgetting all the words.
Quest for Momoi #4, Panel

Call Workshop
After the panel, we headed to the call workshop to talk about Momoi's calls, and Japanese concert etiquette in general. Sadly, we had requested two hours but only got half of that, plus we were sandwiched right between Momoi's panel and autograph session so nobody was willing to risk running long. The workshop ended up being incredibly rushed and probably 70% of the information content got skipped. The etiquette bit is something I'll probably post about separately as there are some questions I think are interesting. The media and live demonstration were also heavily cut so we could pack up and race to the Momoi autograph line.

Autograph Session

Momoi generously allowed two items per person plus a posed photo. The photo is a bigger deal that it sounds. I think most Western fans are used to taking pictures with their favorite celebrities during meet & greets as it is practically the norm, but in Japan taking a posed picture with an idol seems to be very limited. Usually, you have to win a raffle or pay for the privilege. In fact the photo is always mentioned as one of the selling points in the Momoi tour packages. So, while I shamelessly took advantage of the opportunities, there was a small bit of guilt since we were hanging out with the Japanese fans. Some of them actually passed, maybe because they felt uncomfortable crossing that culture barrier.

1st Autograph Session
In case you were wondering about Momoi's hat in her new twitter picture, she's actually wearing an Angry Video Game Nerd cap that she got from a fan.

Dinner
Not eventful, but if you remember my sidestory from Fanime 2009...well we went to THAT diner again. It was just so damn good there was a unanimous vote to make the drive all the way to Winchester House.
Flames, Classic American Diner

And that wraps up Day 2. By the way, to respect everyone's privacy preferences, if you were in any of the group pictures we took for any of the days, shoot me a mail and I'll send you a link.

Posted by Paranda at 1:52 AM | Comments (4)

May 28, 2010

Fanime day 1

Ongoing blog post for Momoi stalking activities. This will by text heavy version when I want to do a bigger text dump instead of spam twitter via @paranda_update

11:30 AM
Momoi sound check earlier today around 9AM. I didn't see it, but I heard it (was stuck in line). Only so many people would sing "God Knows" with that kind of voice. Suspicion confirmed after I ran into ochawan and genman while I was waiting in the pre-reg line who did get to see it in person.

A short wait. I heard people were waiting for an hour yesterday during pre-reg pickup but I went through in about 20 minutes. Got my Momoi Quest stamp card. You might recognize the unique art style from mandichan.

Unfortunately, maybe due to time constraints or other reasons, the stamp cards were actually not cards at all. Seems to be printed on regular A4 white paper - no reinforcements, no lamination, and it's not cut evenly on the line - some peoples' corners were probably chopped off. Momoi's own card is actually a pretty good representation, which you can see here. As you can see, she traveled to the future and got all the events stamped.

I'll have to take good care of it, or it might just rip if somebody sneezes on it. Staking out stage zero now. Still several hours to go before Momoi's next scheduled appearance, but she's known to appear randomly. It's been pretty slow now and "club music" is REALLLLYY not my style.

But, tenton and catsspat should have rendezvoused with Japanese crew at the airport by now and are heading back so things will pick up shortly.

4:00 PM
Just returned to the hotel after a good 1st performance. This will be brief since I am about to leave again for the panel.

Be sure to follow yoshisawa who will probably broadcast all the events live.

5:15 PM
An early dinner for 10. Now onto the panel for real this time.

11:00 PM
Day 1 is now over. Two quest events were held today, a short mini-live (Quest #1) and a panel (Quest #2). Met some new faces like Silli, an awesome dude who came over from Germany, plus some old school forum goons from my earlier SA days.

Momoi did 3 songs for Quest #1. The set list was God Knows, Butterfly, and Akihabalove. It was off to a good start. Two out of three songs are UO-type songs, and one was a popular cover which I hadn't heard live before. During Akihabalove, Jun-chan and a Komugi cosplayer appeared as surprise guests.

After, we headed for stamps and goods table. Nice to see that the stamp design is also by mandi. The Right Gauge shop inventory contained No Answer No Live wristbands and phone straps, and a new set of Spring 2010 T-shirts in white, lime, and orange colors. There were no CDs on sale this time around.

Since nobody ate all day, we ended up cramming in a really early dinner with everyone before heading to the panel. In line, we discover there will be no shortage of camera angles. Momoists love gear. Yoshisawa provided streaming again, and autolooper was taping a higher def version for youtube which he will probably post in a few days.




Unfortunately, the panel forgot to announce the hint for the next quest location. Luckily, Momoi's manager let us know at the goods table: Karaoke room 11:00 AM tomorrow.

We headed to FLOW just in time to see the encore, then went for a big supply run at a local store. I'm really tired now so I'm going to turn in now that I've uploaded the rest of my stuff to Flickr. Tomorrow will be karaoke, Fanimaid concert (Momoi appeared last year and cheered with us in the audience), Momoi panel, teaching at the call workshop, and then rushing off to autographs. Big day ahead!

Posted by Paranda at 2:20 PM | Comments (0)

May 15, 2010

Fanime 2010 approaches

Only two more weeks to go. This year, Momoi will be doing a novel questing format for her appearances. According to the Fanime news post, you can follow her around to several events and accumulate quest points for a prize, with each subsequent location being revealed. If this is true, it's possible that performances will not be limited to stage zero. Will we see Momoi go back to her old street performer days, doing stuff right out in the open supported only by a boombox and a crowd? It's not unworkable, as we learned very well last year.

Other assumptions:


  • Momoi will probably be in cosplay the whole time. We already had Anise last year, so it's anybody's guess we'll get this time but probably RPG related.

  • Glowsticks will be ineffective in well lit open areas. Alternatives could be uchiwas, towels, and light wands that you can switch off. This year, we will probably be primarily using uchiwa, and LD20s with separate Momoi attachments.

  • Street-style performances will involve crowding around in a circle. There will be little space or opportunity for photo taking. Despite just buying a brand new 70-200 for my camera, it may be wise to leave this in the hotel safe on certain days or just bring a point & shoot backup (I wonder if the Canon SD4000 will be out soon?).

  • Audience interaction and participation will be at a much higher level this time around. Know the concert calls. Of course reading material is always supplied and fans will be teaching anybody who wants to learn. Momoists are not elitists!

I'll also be changing my preparation based on this information. Last year, I went a little overkill with the powerglove, two glowstick belts, backup light pouches, multiple towel attachments, and enough armbands to look like sleeves on both sides. It's actually embarassing to see the old photos, so this year I will go in low profile with just my trusty lights and uchiwa. Kigurumi is also recently more common with Momoi events, but they are usually animal themed. While fine in Japan, in the US, this has unfortunately been co-opted by a very different subculture.

While writing this, I did get reminded that I never actually talked about what happened last year. In fact my last post on it was this. Well to put it simply, it was worth it, so anyone who is thinking about attending should definitely go. To put some closure to that and to finally get it off my plate, I'm going to post a really fast version of that went down last year. Short because I can't remember much aside from it being a euphoric blur.
Day 1
- Pick up people at airport via glowstick signalling system
- Hang around with people as they come in. One Japanese fan brought Momoi artworks which he then signed and sent off to the art show
- Cheer Momoi at Opening ceremony


- Attend 1st panel

- Buy lots of merchandise

- Follow a hunch that Momoi might show up at open karaoke. She didn't so we just cheered anybody who did a Momoi song

Day 2
- Autograph 1. Momoi shows up as Anise. Get stuff signed. Then loiter around the back door.

- Attend Fanimaid performance
- Find Momoi at the same event. She jumps in and starts doing calls with the crowd on the side. Then she jumped on stage with the maids.

- Attend 2nd panel. It got broadcast live on Nico. Unfortunately Momoi lost her scrapbook at this event and whoever took it never gave it back >:(
- Attend Call Workshop and give away UOs for everyone so they can do the synchronized UO thing during LOVE.EXE.
- Go to dinner. Sounds not Important, but then we had this short exchange. Approximately...


Group thought process: Hey we're going out to dinner. Let's see if Priz is done shopping with Momoi yet. Let's call him!

So I do.

Me: hey where are you?
Priz: I'm having dinner with Momoi. Hang on a second
*A few seconds later*
Momoi: "HELLLOO"

Fuck! Momoi is on the phone!. Trade a few words. Then...we eye the groggy japanese fans who were totally dead from jet lag. This ought to wake them up...

Handed over phone to confused fan without saying anything. Never saw anyone stiffen up so fast and switch to instant polite mode. We huddle around a tiny phone straining to hear with speakerphone while Momoi gives a pretty long pep talk.

Then as a favor, she left a voice mail (major major props to priz for this). ~Mail Me~ in real life!


Day 3:
- Attend Fanimaid cafe on Momoi rumor. No show, but we got good service because the people who ran the cafe liked Momoi fans :)
- Unwrapped a zillion glowsticks and delivered them to concert staff to hand out at the door
- Wait in line for a long time. One Japanese fan went in hobostyle 8 hours early with a cardboard sign
Attended concert. Momoi walks right off the stage and into the audience like it's no big deal (momoi owns).
Bunch of fans joked about joining her up on stage just like in Hawaii. Turned out it actually happened.
Discovered the weakness of cheap bulk UO - they turn yellow and go out much sooner than cyalume brand UO!

Day 4
- Get more stuff signed. The artist decided to let us keep these after the art show was over. Top center frame now sitting on my desk :)

- A reward for loitering this time: Momoi group photo! Almost a tradition now
- The actual tourist part of the vacation: go visit some places Momoi talked about visiting while she was here. Winchester House for example.
- Amusing sidestory while en route to Winchester: we went with some of the Japanese fans who had yet to have the classic AMERICAN DINER experience. Luckily, the place we went to just happened to be one of the most stereotypical places ever (gator motifs, booths, mobster-like setting, and huge HUGE portions). One guy got a massive bowl of pasta bigger than his head for $8.

Pretty awesome itinerary if I do say so myself. Needless to say...there's lots of incentive to go again, and I'm really looking forward to Fanime this year. Probably a lot more impromptu crowd stuff like the maid performance incident.

Posted by Paranda at 11:31 PM | Comments (3)

May 3, 2010

Pencil Live 2010 thoughts

Well I've had a long sleep deprived day now I'm finally home again

When Pencil Live 2010 advertised Momoi, Sakakibara Yui, KOTOKO, and others...I was sort of expecting Pencil Live to use them as key acts between a variety of artists and that ultimately we'd only see 3 - 4 songs from each performer. It turns I was wrong - this event was completely dedicated to them. The only unlisted performance was a special number by Sanch who flew in especially from South Korea.

What a combo huh?

The feed went up at 16:30 as promised (3:30 for me) and they started playing a lot of recognizable game music. A couple of death screams were heard, but all around the crowd was pretty subdued, maybe they warned them not to be rowdy. Of course whatever reservedness they had was filed away as the countdown started.

I always forget that in Japan, concerts actually start punctually and not 55 minutes past the billing time like in the U.S. Within half a minute on the turn of the hour, a guy came out to do a short intro and Momoi jumped in immediately after, dressed in full Tsurupeta cosplay. Intentional or not, the costume's style, accessories, and hat called strongly to her old UNDER17 outfits.

Momoi gave us a very impressive set list with a great mix of old favorites and newer songs, with the majority being from Pajamas Soft's series of Prism ____ games.

1. Shokuzai no rhapsody
It's a good opener that highlighted her singing abilities, with a lot of comments just remarking on her vocal mastery. But only after this track the moe song fan service begins.

2. Kyouryuu shoujo
Pencil's website telegraphed it was coming, but I still got overcome with nostalgic feelings form this wonderful callback to the UNDER17 era. When singing it, Momoi still sounds exactly the same as then. During MCs, Momoi spotted a guy with the T-shirt and towels from her old concerts with that unit.

3. Chiccha na bouken
Next was a blatant nya~nya~ track to get the comments box flooded with exclamations of cute. One of her rare cutesy songs in the last few years. Have not heard anything like it since Utamaru Ekaki Uta.

4. Majokko Tsurupeta Magical
Momoi also came armed with a brand new song from the new Prism Magical game, showcasing a warm airy tune that combined orchestral instruments with computerized bleep-bloop.

5. Naito de Naito
uuuuuUUUU HAI! Fast paced...UOs...the best kind of track for a live house.

6 Opera Fantasia
Another Shikura Chiyomaru track. Opera Fantasia is pretty standard Momoi fare which is reliant on strong vocals.

7 Yuuen no Amulet
A fan favorite. There were LOTS of UO lit up for this one, and an especially loud crowd coordinated perfect PPPH and stealth romance. This was a fitting closer that left everyone satisfied, tired, and thankful of a big break to come. (there was also Momoi singing about 30 seconds of Saisho to saigo no mahou but we won't count that officially)

So, did the Niconico format work? Overall, it was worth the $20. For one, psychologically just knowing something is in real time already provides a greater enjoyment similar to how we enjoy watching sports live rather than taped. Plus there's the running commentary from the viewers. But, even beyond that, there is a surprising bit of participation, which while at face value sounds incredibly lame, actually does provide a pretty unique and amusing experience. For Nico viewers, synchronized comment spamming fills in for cheers and color coded text fills in for coordinated glow stick coloring.

On criticisms, my main complaint would be to improve the stream quality. For $20, we had the feed get cut twice, and while the audio was good, picture-wise we got some grainy video that looked like it got uploaded from some guy's cell phone set on a tripod. The other is not directed to Niconico but to Pencil Live itself: don't waste the lineup! You're putting Momoi, Sakakibara Yui, and KOTOKO together and NOT doing a collaboration? When there was no encore I was incredulous. It's not like there's a shortage of songs. I mean there's even a Momoi and Yui duet already in Pajamas Soft's library (Prism Knight ~nijiiro no kioku~). Just jam KOTOKO in there and be done with it!

I do hope they made good sales on the web cast though. Dwango has a good thing going on here, and one that is sure appreciated by those of us who live on the opposite side of the world without the means to attend multiple events per year.

Other stuff I want to say (in order of appearance):

On Sanch-san.
She's a cute but really REALLY quiet girl who made her first trip to Japan from Korea. She got a big welcome though, maybe even a little too big. I didn't know the song she sang, but everyone else there did and their cheering was so intense sometimes the crowd actually drowned her out. A lot of comments were just cheering her on and asking her to throw herself into it more. I can understand the nervousness though. There are big fish there. Actually I would kind of like to know what song she did because it was pretty good, and she did a good job. That kind of soft-spoken voice was not a bad fit for the tune after all.

On Sakakibara Yui
I think Yuinyan's anti-otagei reputation is a bit overblown - when she appeared people were wondering if the audience would be banned from doing PPPH. Come on she's not that scary! I'm pretty sure she just dislikes the extreme stuff since some dude actually launched a glowstick onto her stage in the past, but regular jumping and cheering hardly falls under this umbrella. She looked absolutely welcoming of the crowd support. In terms of singing, Yuinyan always seems to be the most artificial to me. Her voice is very heavily processed and half the time I feel like it's actually just a recording in the back, especially since her dance moves are so incredibly hard - it seems nearly impossible to sing properly with that level of activity. Luckily to make up for it she has an excellent arsenal of songs, an absolutely fantastic "おk" which resulted in a zillion comments being posted gushing over it, and also the awesome Soshite boku ha which could have only been improved if she showed up in her skimpy nun costume. Ultimately, she is a good performer with a great repertoire even if all of her singing is prerecorded.

On KOTOKO
When KOTOKO did her MC, it really hit me that every that Momoi, Yui, KOTOKO...they are hardcore veterans with 10+ years under their belts. They know what they are doing. KOTOKO just really ruled the end like an iron fist dictator. Her command over the music and the crowd was just so complete. Just look at dis coordinated EEEEEEEEEHHH when she announced her last song.

And with her projection, she really is the one who earns the moniker utahime the most. Despite her gangly appearance, tongue-tied mishaps, and cutesy hairstyle, we all know the massive experience she has stowed away under all of it. Plus, everyone knows there are two KOTOKOs. The cute one we see here who forgets the names of her own songs (Genzai no Prism...uh I mean....Requiem), and the stone cold LED sunglasses wearing white haired alien space lady who shows up in videos like epsilon and Re-sublimity. Somehow she expertly plays both two images with minimal dissonance.

Posted by Paranda at 11:26 PM | Comments (4)

May 1, 2010

Let's watch Momoi in Pencil Live 2010

On May 3rd, the sold out Pencil Live 2010 will feature Momoi, KOTOKO, and Yui-nyan celebrating exactly what made them legendary in the first place back in the day. Erogame music.

Given that it's probably the first time those three ever stood together on one stage, It's already a powerful combination and persuasive argument to attend the live event in person, but this time there IS a second best alternative. The very interesting thing about this event is that there will be a live broadcast. If you participated in the (failed) live feed of Momoi's concert, or even just twittered concerts with Yukarin and really had fun for that, then this may worth looking into. Although it's a pay broadcast, 2 of the major international credit cards (Visa & Mastercard) will work with Nico's point system.

Mercifully, the concert time translates to 4 AM EST for me, so I can wake up early and watch the whole thing before I book it to work (any later than that and I'd miss it like I've missed every Momoi radio broadcast in the last year). Let's meet on the day of the live and cheer virtually! If you've got a broken sleep schedule and a spare 2000 yen burning a hole in your pocket what better way to spend a Monday?

I documented the points process in case anyone is new to this system. I know it took me a few tries and a call to my bank to clear up some automatic fraud detection flags. People who know Nico inside out can just skip this.



First things first, if at any point in the purchasing process you see this page, that is basically Dwango telling you that it does not give a shit about you, a customer who is trying to give them money, and you need to fuck off and try again later.



Basically before you can buy the online ticket you need to set up your NicoNicoPoints account from http://point.nicovideo.jp/index/bank/. Scroll down and click through the disclaimer and you should see this page. From hereon out I'm just going to circle everything to click and hopefully by some miracle, it will work the first time and you won't have to see that enraging "we're too busy" page mentioned above over and over.



It's pretty straight foward. Get 2000 points. 1 yen is 1 point. Of course as a dirty foreigner you'll wind up paying more than 2000 yen after various credit card fees.



Click for credit card.



Input credit card number, enter date, hit next.



Confirm the purchase



If you see this page, it means you succeeded. If you DON'T see this page, then it means your credit card got rejected and you now have to call customer service for your card and explain to them that you are trying to buy access to a Japanese video site, while casually throwing in the fact that Dwango is a legitimate Tokyo Stock Exchange listed public corporation to distinguish it from 99% of other unwholesome internet transactions involving online video.



Now you can head over to the ticket purchase page http://live.nicovideo.jp/sticket/pencilpro_live_10th and hit the big red button. Be prepared to try a zillion times.



Eventually, you'll succeed and see this glorious page. Save the serial code, you'll need it later. It also goes to your email address, assuming you provided a real one when you signed up for your nico account so you can use that as well.



On the day of the live, go to the lobby http://live.nicovideo.jp/gate/lv15414926 and put your serial code in the box to join the feed.

Seating begins at 16:30 JST. Be there or be square.

Thanks to mandi who diligently keeps us all up to date on Momoi's Niconico activities.

Posted by Paranda at 1:13 AM | Comments (1)

October 8, 2009

MOMO-i designed Fostex Headphones

Well these babies finally came a few days ago. With two identical sets of stickers and no application instructions, I decided to wing it and just throw stickers on wherever there was space. Hey I can always buy another set if I mess up both times.

I did not get a collectible photo. RG said they may send these out separately at a later time so I'll wait for it. If you got one included with your package... welp I guess I just got screwed then.



Now with my terrible design sense out of the way...

The package also contains a MOMO-i Namagoe Tester mini CD. It's more of a toy than anything else, but very novel and a cute idea. There were 6 tracks total.


  1. 1KHz - Momoi saying AAAAAAAH

  2. 100Hz Momoi humming MMMMM

  3. 5kHz - Very high pitched squeal

  4. Left/Right channel test - Momoi saying migi/hidari (felt stupid during this one because I didn't pay attention to the L/R letters and put my headphones on backwards!)

  5. Panning test - Momoi going nyan-nyan-nyan followed by a VERY cute skit where she 'yoissho's left, right, and center several times.

  6. Headphone information - Specs, care and maintenance instructions with moe voice commentary in the background.

For testing, I used my Sennheiser HD280 as my comparison model. It seemed fair as they are both close in type and price. I plugged these into my XFI card with no amp, and played back both the tester CD and some live concert clips that I often watch. I do not consider myself a true hardcore audiophile, so there were minimal controls and I did not use any objective measuring devices. What I type is just my general feeling:

Fostex is light and comfy with little to no pressure on the ears compared to HD280 (which feel like iron earmuffs after an hour). The headphones are not as loud as HD280 so I had to fiddle with volume a bit. There is a bit clearer distinction between instruments, and a bit less coloration in the voice. This definitely seems like a set of headphones great for listening to radio and long dramas when you are in a quiet room, or when you are wearing them for hours at a time. I prefer the HD280 when watching live concerts with a loud crowd though, even if the bass bleeds over a bit. They add a bit more flavor even though there is greater distortion. Both headphones are closed-ear so they are pretty good for general use and will block out most ambient noise. I'll probably keep these plugged into my PC while I hook up my HD280 to my XBOX.

For the heck of it, I also test-ran them against my HD595s for some choral pieces and Cello solos. They fared surprisingly well, though they are two very different types of headphones meant for different purposes. HD595 had a stronger bass, but its main advantage was the immersion factor - they basically don't exist as headphones when you wear them.

I didn't bother comparing against Shure E5s or CX300. I will probably never use these for PMP since they are so conspicuous.

Posted by Paranda at 12:51 AM | Comments (4)

September 11, 2009

Buy this if you are cool

Momoi's custom designed headphones are out.

Comes with goodies such as stickers, Momoi voice CD for audio testing, and collectible photo. They didn't just make an English page for fun. Show RG that overseas fans are good for it!

Posted by Paranda at 12:08 AM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2009

Momoi concert live broadcast

In case any Momoi fans haven't seen the announcement in the forums..

Shinji will attempt to broadcast Momoi's concert live from Las Vegas on Nico. We tried this at Fanime but the feed got shut down by staff. Hopefully Anime Vegas is a bit more lax.

http://live.nicovideo.jp/gate/lv3743186

Broadcast starts 7pm U.S. Eastern time tonight. Come cheer on Momoi and hang out with the other Momoists there virtually

Posted by Paranda at 5:44 PM | Comments (3)

August 2, 2009

So far so good in Mexico

It seems Momoi got the rockstar treatment in Mexico and saw a huge welcoming reception with crying fans, billboards all over the place, and various outbursts. Her blog impressions so far have been extremely positive.

It's awesome that the fans there were able to create an atmosphere where she really felt comfortable getting in there and mingling with the fans to a huge extent.

We are also watching the event at the English forums, with cat_clan acting as our unofficial eyes and ears.

And though I was not able to attend this event in person in the end, one thing I had did make it to Mexico after all. Look for Momoi using our Fenix LD10. *sheds tear*

Mexican fan blog watch:
Momoi en Mexico
Momoi Mexico

Posted by Paranda at 10:21 PM | Comments (4)

May 21, 2009

One day left

Hopping on the 6pm flight from JFK to SJC. Looking forward to seeing the usual group, and also any new Momoists we haven't met before. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself.

Gonna enjoy trying to get this through airport security as a carry-on.

Posted by Paranda at 2:24 AM | Comments (3)

May 14, 2009

Fanime schedule posted

http://www.fanime.com/schedule.html

If you only care about Momoi's events and don't feel like parsing through that huge pile of unsearchable jpegs though, you should read tenton's summary here instead.

Dude, 2 and 1/2 hours...

Posted by Paranda at 1:03 AM | Comments (3)

May 6, 2009

Momoi is bringing her live band to Fanime

Announced by Momoi on her blog

Benefits of live:

1. She can improvise or extend performances at will tailored to the audience response.
2. Live versions are specially made to be performed during a show, so they sound refreshingly different from, and sometimes better than, the karaoke versions.
3. Due to the staff involved, a concert is likely to be longer (unlike 30 minutes in Hawaii).
4. The last time Momoi brought a guest to AX, it turned out to be Manzo who performed during the intermission.
5. If Taiwan can have a live band dammit so can we!

Posted by Paranda at 2:21 PM | Comments (3)

April 27, 2009

Momoi to perform in Mexico

In Hawaii, Momoi mentioned she would be doing a concert in Mexico but did not reveal any specifics. Recently, Hello Wota!, probably the authoritative blog for idol otaku in Mexico, has shed some light on Momoi's upcoming performance in Mexico and revealed they had a significant hand in bringing Momoi to the western hemisphere once again.

The post links to Momoi en Mexico which says the current dates are set for August 1 and 2 at the CENART building in Mexico City - quite a ways down south. For US Momoists at least, this won't be a simple day trip. Maybe I'll just need to have a vacation around that time. Then again there's Animelo 2009 to worry about.

Posted by Paranda at 11:41 PM | Comments (4)

April 18, 2009

New Momoi forum

Since our old admin has been MIA for half a year and was the only person able to approve new accounts, a new Momoi board was set up by a fan which we will use to plan events.

Please visit us at forums.halkomomoi.com :)

Posted by Paranda at 10:38 AM | Comments (0)

April 8, 2009

Upcoming AKIHABALOVE releases

Momoi is no slacker regarding her startup label it seems. She'll be putting out three new singles in the next few months.

1. Ruzi Guzi
This first AKIHABALOVE RECORDS release features the strangely named Yurumeitsu OVA opening theme (Ru-ji- Gu-ji-?) coupled with "Brand new music" from the "full voice drama movie" Dvorak no Kyuujitsu.

Available 4/29 from CDJapan.

2. My resolution ~ano toki no shita de~.
The first of Momoi's "Summer of Love" collaboration series. Momoi doesn't sing on this but the Akihabara Queen will compose and arrange two songs for the Anisong Diva Okui Masami.

Available 5/27 from CDJapan.

3. Jienotsu Song
Momoi joins forces with a cosplaying kickboxing champion on her third single, and has been tasked with creating his theme song. Denpa no sekai has a nice writeup on the background behind this. Despite allusions to CM Punk, unfortunately kickboxing is non-staged (as far as I know) so we grudgingly have to rule out the possibility of Momoi playing heel manager and doing ringside run-ins with a big pink hammer.

Available 6/17 from CDJapan.

Posted by Paranda at 9:58 AM | Comments (1)

April 7, 2009

Momoi announced as Fanime guest

The San Jose based anime convention Fanime revealed Momoi as one of their mystery guests.

This will be the first time Momoi visits mainland US since AX07. Anybody living near the area or willing to fly in, please come join us and have fun at Momoi's concert.

Posted by Paranda at 4:16 PM | Comments (7)

April 2, 2009

Punkolle - listen once, then sweep it under the rug forever

After over a month of waiting due to some shipping snags and the delay of another accompanied item, my copy of Punkolle ~voice actresses' legendary punk songs collection~finally arrived last weekend. Well..where to start?

It's fitting that the cover features moe avatars of the six seiyuu all delivering the middle finger squarely to the listener. I suppose that is exactly what was promised though - terrible renditions of songs pronounced with atrocious engrish accents in ridiculous voices. In fact even the "engrish" part is suspect as many tracks are utterly incomprehensible. The liner notes naturally do not contain any lyrics, since it is clearly a wasted effort. I suspect the recording process involved the recording crew ambushing stumbling drunk seiyuu on the way home from a bar with a microphone and betting if they could sing from memory.

Of course for everyone who happily listens to the Moetans, Maritans, and countless other "this is a pen" style attempts in the world by seiyuu to cutely mangle the English language, concerns about quality or clarity take a backseat to novelty. With this in mind as context, Punkolle was generally a success. Sure some songs had a few wasted opportunities to get creative with the source material, but most tracks met expectations nicely, and three particular ones exceeded way above and beyond. In order of preference:

1. Sex and Violence. This song practically defines the entire compilation.
Momoi opens the album on a high note, taking generous artistic liberties with "Sex and Violence." In order to compensate for having exactly one line, each slightly-too-happy reptition is done with a slight variation on the voice or background effect that progressively escalates into the absurd. By the second half, Momoi has gone clearly lost her mind and has gone from just adding "cha cha!" in between lines to declaring herself to be a cat, yodeling in high falsetto for the backing vocals, slurring her speech like an old man, and inexplicably screaming "Oniitan!" (in a song about Sex and Violence). Listen carefully and you can probably pick out more than two dozen different voices in all.

2. God Save The Queen. I have no future.
Ikezawa Haruna's take on God Save The Queen is excellent and probably my second favorite track on the entire album. Ikezawa has a decent enough voice, but what really distinguishes this performance is that instead of just singing the words, she makes a ridiculously cute attempt to throw in an accent, tons of vocal slides, and plenty of style. She even rolls the R's! The effort is quite amazing and at some points it almost seemed as she really did believe she was a punk superstar. The song sort of runs away with its own personality and makes for highly amusing listening. She does this well in Basket Case as well, although to a lesser degree. Either way, Ikezawa's strange accent is something I can't quite pin down but I know I like it.

3. Pretty Fly (フォ・ア・ホワイト・ガイ)
Since "Pretty Fly" is already a satirical work in itself, intentionally corny, and a popular target for parodies, I figured there wasn't really much potential in this song aside from maybe the humor in Kadowaki Mai calling herself a white guy. Yet somehow, Mai manages to create a musical abortion that few people can ever be ready for. The entire song sounds like it was done by a second grade student desperately trying to recite lines for the school play while making "> <" eyes and running out of air. The delivery is occasionally broken up by her piercing "ahaa ahaa" that is enough to make me nervously check over my shoulder for policemen (explaining the situation probably wouldn't make things better). This is the track you can show to annoying people if you want them to look at you funny and leave you alone.

While there are a few other nice covers, these three tracks are all that make the entire album worth getting. Of the remaining titles, Momoi's Call Me was probably the strongest in terms of singing ability. Other fun tracks included Goto Yuko's surprisingly non-abrasive "Smells like Team Spirit", "London's Burning," and Shimizu Kaori's "Blitzkrieg Bop" which sounds like it was ripped out of an Adventure Island level. The weakest tracks were Tanaka Rie's covers which, while not actively bad, did suffer from extreme dullness. Punkolle could be a historical album noted to be one of the few song compilations where Goto actually comes out ahead of somebody else.

So I guess I lied in the subject, because the truth is I actually might listen to it a few more times, but only certain songs and I probably wouldn't admit it under any non-otaku social setting. In the right situations though, it is a nice CD to bring out especially since it appears to have flown under the radar in the English speaking community (I only read 2 - 3 sites talking about it at all). As proven in Hawaii by another Momoist, it can be weaponized for highly effective use during road trips - great for springing on a captive audience. To avoid severe bodily harm when listening in a group setting such as the above, make sure everybody involved has a safety word established in case things get out of hand.

Buy it!

Also, I got the Momoi card :P

Posted by Paranda at 11:15 PM | Comments (8)

March 26, 2009

Ahahaha you've got to be kidding me...

I can't believe this video made it onto the internet.

Momoi what have you done to us??

Posted by Paranda at 11:46 PM | Comments (5)

March 17, 2009

Honolulu Festival 2009 Complete

So I've got some time to kill as I wait for my flight back to NYC. Here's a quick rundown of my trip.

Friday 3/13
Momoi events:

Beachside BBQ. Last year the fans all went to a seafood restaurant so we thought this time was going to be similar and the venue would be like a beachside BBQ restaurant or something. Actually the food (chicken and spare ribs) was just hauled in and grilled on location by staff from Honolulu Festival. We sat in a grassy area on mats in a circle around Momoi.The format was very open and you could basically do whatever you wanted. Dinner entertainment was provided by Momoi, who played requests on a little toy keyboard.


You can play a surprising amount of music despite being limited to a single octave

After dinner, Momoi said that she wanted to learn thundersnake because she saw it being performed it on video. "Thundersnake" refers to a semi-complicated movement that involves a lot of frantic hand movement and typically follows into "romance," which is basically a lot of synchronized pointing (LLRRLRLLRRLLRLRR). Initially Momoi intended to practice both thundersnake, and its variation in Thundershot (involves another modification to mimic summoning and throwing a thunderbolt) but after a demonstration Momoi said it looked so hard that it was impossible and just stuck to the first one.


Momoi attempts an uninterrupted run of thundersnake after being shown the basics. Video available on request.

Since there has been some backlash against certain idol fans (not Momoi) getting too obnoxious during concerts, Momoists try to keep their own idol's reputation clean by assigning two movesets to many Momoi songs. For large concerts or cramped spaces, only a simple version (call) is used out of concern for their neighbors. An alternative no holds barred version is busted out during smaller fan events and only works when you have a high amount of fans consenting to participate ahead of time and lots of space to avoid accidentally punching someone out. Momoi broadcast that she intended to let everyone on stage again, so fans jumped at the chance to prepare the harder version and what started out as just thundersnake practice turned into a full rehearsal of LOVE.EXE.


Momoi's E-GU-ZE with LD20s

Once Momoi left, the only thing left for the day was to unpack the glowsticks shipment. This is what 700 glowsticks look like.


It took a whole group of people an hour just to unwrap and sort everything.

Friday's Dining:
Breakfast: One locomoco (a huge hamburger/egg/rice combo) at Lulu's Waikiki
Lunch: Since most Japanese fans didn't arrive until the afternoon, we kept it simple with a Puka Dog at the International Market Place
Dinner: BBQ

Saturday 3/14
Momoi events:

Terrible weather in the morning kept us indoors for most of the morning. In the afternoon, Momoi went to the beach with fans and showed off her new swimsuit. Having practiced the night before, Momoi came prepared to do a full run through of LOVE.EXE on the sand. Keeping the tradition alive, fans changed into their swimsuits and participated in shooting a homemade otagei video on the beach with Momoi in the center (last year we did Romantic Summer).


Checking the angle for shooting the EXE video

Saturday's Dining:
Breakast: A "special pancake restaurant" that Japanese fans wanted to try turned out to be IHOP.
Dinner: Bruschetta pomodoro and spaghetti alla pescatore @ Arancino.

Sunday 3/15
Momoi events:

Sunday was the main event. Fans waited at the convention center at noon to greet Momoi as she arrived. Momoi decided to pick out a special outfit for this performance instead of her usual costume.


Momoi pops out of her limo

Brand new concert goods were brought out especially for this event and it was the first time anybody had seen them. There were two new T-shirts designed by Mars Sixteen and seven new wristbands with a new Momoi emblem totaling $120 worth of new merchandise. The fanclub lined up early but they were very fast with ordering ("one of everything please"). The English/German single that debuted at Connichi was also available for $10. Momoi manned the booth to give autographs but due to time constraints, she could not pose with anyone individually for pictures.


Momoi will autograph anything regardless of whether you purchase or not. She'll sign DS screens, travel bags, zoom lenses, T-shirts off your back, you name it.

After autographs, Momoi made a brief stop at the maid cafe and then went straight to the stage. Since she only had half an hour, the set list was kept short:

1. Motto! Yume! Miyou!
2. Cue!
3. Naito de naito
3.5. Akihabalove (one verse, vocal only)
4. Romantic Summer
5. Ai no medicine
6. 21st Century
7. Tondol Baby!
8. Wonder Momoi
9. LOVE.EXE

Unlike last year, Momoi was unfortunately only scheduled to perform on Sunday instead of both days.This meant for anybody new to Honolulu Festival in 2009, it would be the first and only time to enjoy a Momoi concert. Momoi knew this so she wasted no time in getting as much audience involvement as possible. By the fifth song, she was pulling the younger children on stage. In the middle of 21st Century, she suddenly left the stage and began singing as she traveled through the hall giving out glowsticks to people, singing to elderly couples, and shaking hands with babies.


"チルドレンズ! カム トゥ ザ ステージ プリーズ!"

During the middle of Tondol Baby, Tanaka from JTB runs over and tells us "Stage! Go! Go! Go!" which was the fanclub's cue to enter. We stayed back on the upper deck so nobody would accidentally commit a PR disaster and smash a four year old with a glowstick.


Oh no, my glowstick bandolier strap is twisted! Gotta fasten more snugly next time.

Note to self: LD20s get HOT if you use them for too long. Good thing I had that power glove - it acted like an oven mitt.

The rest is self explantory if you watch this video.

What can I say? I went to Honolulu Festival 2008 expecting the things that happened that year were so amazing it only happened once in a lifetime. Now in 2009, the magic was recreated a second time in a row with an even more ridiculous over the top allowance for fans to get SO DAMN CLOSE to the action. I'm sitting here in the aiport now with only one sentence that Momoi said at the end running through my mind. "See you next year!"

Sunday's Dining:
Breakfast: Hashbrown and eggs special at Galaxy Steakhouse. Same thing you can get at IHOP except for a third of the price.
Dinner: 16 ounce rib eye at Chuck's Steakhouse.

Special thanks to tenton for image #3 and #8 and priz for image #9.

For more HF2009 coverage in Japanese, visit the source itself: Momoi's blog! Can you believe Momoi didn't like blogging that much before? She now posts many times a day. Also be sure to check out the Daily Momoi Times, run by Momoi's Youtube camera man (in case you wondered who shot the video).

P.S.
Countdown until somebody triangulates the objects in Momoi's picture and figures out exactly which hotel room she stayed in.

Posted by Paranda at 12:11 AM | Comments (6)

March 15, 2009

Practice

After BBQ on Friday night, Momoi said she wanted to learn "thundersnake" (otagei) because it looked cool in one of the DVDs. One thing lead to another and by the end she was learning the full LOVE.EXE steps and singing into a glowstick like it was a mic on the beach.


Momoi does the motions leading in to "romance" with the LD20s.


Here is a comparison shot against UO as danie requested. The white circles show the LD20 and LD10 lights, and as you can see they blend in very well even with freshly broken ultras (by half a minute they are brighter than UO).

It's amazing how all the fans know to keep a stash of multiple ultra oranges or pen lights on their person regardless of the situation or setting just in case impromptu stuff like this happens. You know how magicians will pull flowers and doves out of their sleeves in one swift motion? Yeah...well these guys do that with glowsticks. And they're wearing T-shirts.

You can see some videos on momoi's YouTube channel. She has a new swimsuit this year.

Pics thanks to tenton since I was in the crowd. It's 6:30AM Sunday in Hawaii right now so we're only a few hours away from the concert. Getting ready..

Posted by Paranda at 12:06 PM | Comments (3)

March 8, 2009

Packing up concert gear

Thanks to everyone for the kind comments in my last post. I am now packing since the trip is 4 days away.

In addition to the power glove, Momoi wristbands, towels, shirts, and standard 6 hour glowsticks, this year's personal concert gear has seen a significant upgrade with the addition of some items and removal of others:

concert gear

- To substitute 5 minute ultra orange sticks, two new Fenix LD20 lights and diffuser accessories were added thanks to a recommendation by catsspat. These are about as bright as UO sticks but last 2 hours on the highest setting. They will be used during LOVE.EXE, henshin segments of WONDER MOMO-I, Tenbatsu!, and any other moments where UO lighting is necessary. They will save the need to carry 20 UO sticks this time around and many more in the future. The LD20 also has strobe mode although I don't think I will find any opportunity to use this unless I suddenly have a pressing need to annoy people or induce epilepsy

- A 20 capacity shotgun shell bandolier has been repurposed for Ultra Intensity glowstick storage. Since there aren't any good LD20 compatible diffusers for blue, yellow, or pink it was necessary to rely on ultra glowsticks. Ultras burn very quickly, so it is very possible to go through two or three per song. 10 ultra blue have been reserved for Yume no baton, Koi no meiousei, or any ballads that might be in the set list. 5 ultra yellow have been reserved for the slim possibility of Chuo Line (to match the color of the train) and Thundershot, and 5 pink have been kept on hand for Komugi tracks.

- For general purpose use, neon pink and neon blue electronic penlights obtained during the Animelo 2008 trip have been added to the main belt. These have a life of about 3 hours and may will serve as backup in case I run out of ultra glowsticks and UO lighting would be inappropriate for the song. Two smaller pockets have been added for AA and AAA batteries.

- Removed from this year's armory are the triple LED tactical flashlights. These were useful for R/G/B beams but were not practical for concert use due to the lack of a good diffuser and the odd angle of the flashlight heads.

- Might be removed: 7-glowstick holster. This was my primary method of cyalume delivery in 08 but it has been largely made redundant by the Fenix lights. They do act as a nice counterweight to them though. I may swap it out for a dedicated powerglove hook.

Momoists have also prepared 650 glowsticks available for the audience, shipped by tenton. This is down from last year due to Momoi only performing one show instead of two.

Posted by Paranda at 3:15 PM | Comments (9)

February 11, 2009

Street value of Perfume + DJ momoi @ 80000 yen

Via Yahoo Auctions

Started at 30000. Someone attempted to outbid nic***** and basically got schooled hard. It wasn't me, honest ^_^;;. Actually I do plan on buying something though. Probably this, which is quite cheap and has practical uses for my computer or cell phone :)

Posted by Paranda at 10:10 PM | Comments (4)

February 5, 2009

What? Another Komugi figure

While browsing through 1999.co.jp, this famous Momoi character caught my eye.

I guess it's never too late to resurrect a character when it comes to figurines, but considering it was a niche OVA spinoff with a relatively narrow audience, I'm surprised Nurse Witch Komugi would show up years after the series closed.

Posted by Paranda at 1:44 AM | Comments (3)

February 3, 2009

Akihabalove Record Label

The first half of Momoi's latest fanclub update reads more like a stockholders' address than the sugary status updates an idol typically sends to fans. Inspired by the 2002 UK film "24 Hour Party People" which depicts the rise of Factory Records, Momoi has announced the formation of her own production label called Akihaba Love Records, named so because she loves Akihabara. Coincidentally, it was when Momoi assumed her DJ momo-i identity to produce the song "Akihabalove" for Perfume that many people suspected something like this would be inevitable. Principle among the reasons to form her own label appear to be that she does not wish to be under any constraints.

The label's first release will be the theme song for the upcoming Yurumeitsu OVA in April, based on a 4-koma series by Saxyun. The song is performed and composed by Momoi. She will also be voicing the lead character Yurume in the series. The label will also be working on a collaboration project codenamed "Summer of Love" due in May with the first collaboration partner featuring the legendary Okui Masami. The titles for songs have not been revealed, but Momoi says she will probably be acting as support for Masami's vocals, and will be rocking on her keytar. She indicates that details will be provided on her newly established Akihaba Love channel in NicoNicoDouga next week. Starting this month, Momoi will also be leveraging Nico to do live 60 minute broadcasts on the last Tuesday of every month (9pm Japan), which may prove very interesting as Momoi will interact with fans in real time. Finally, Momoi announced she would be holding a singing audition and is welcoming demo tapes and submissions through Nico.

As of now, Momoi's Avex page is still up. Considering Momoi has had to change her name to momo-i when releasing under non-Avex labels, she may be stuck under some non-compete clause in her contract. We might be able to use this to speculate on her status a bit early depending on how she is credited on upcoming releases to see when her contract period expires. Not that this has any point of course since we will all find out sooner or later. She may still be partially attached or dropped altogether. One ramification for Animelo is that she loses Avex's backing in the latter case. Then again, her strengthened relationship to dwango (NND) could make up for it.

Good luck to Momoi in her label startup! Next I hope she starts her own fashion line. Whatever happened to her ambitious plan of giving otaku big makeovers?

Update with links from comments:

Right Gauge announcement

AKIHABA LOVE RECORDS. Presented by Dwango AG Entertainment.

Momoi's blog announcement on Ameblo

Panel report & pictures

Posted by Paranda at 1:28 PM | Comments (4)

January 19, 2009

Right Gauge discography page update

Since I was checking out Cue! notes over at the RG website, I noticed they have overhauled their entire discography section this year and reposted all of it using their fancy new format. It contains every CD/DVD Momoi has been associated with since her leaving Nakid in early 2006 and joining RG that I can remember coming out, so it looks mostly complete. I was even surprised at a few items I saw in newsmail once but forgot about buying such as the Hokuto no Ken Trance disc. Take a look if you haven't already.

There is one Momoi pseudo-single CD that I did not see listed though, but it came out in late 06 after Plug Entertainment formed. See if you can figure out what it is!

Posted by Paranda at 12:50 AM | Comments (2)

January 18, 2009

Second batch of Momoi stuff for the month

More mail retrieved this long weekend.

Starting from top left going clockwise there's Orchid Seed's 1/7 San figure from CDJapan, Siesta tote bag + Siesta doujinshi from Comiket 75 (thanks to ochawan), and finally Momoi's latest single, Cue! (thanks to Shinji).


San is a remarkably sturdy figure with lots of removable parts to mess around with, and allows you several options to customize the final look. Due to the way they designed the sockets in order to hide the areas where parts join together though, assembly was a huge pain and required various hooked instruments to everything into the right position (especially when trying to join the torso to hips through the skirt which is not removable). Word of warning: wear gloves or wash hands thoroughly before handling, and make sure the figure itself is also cleaned as you will have to press/pull HARD on the plastic and you don't want to cry about even the slightest bit of dirt getting rubbed in.


The final completed figure is so amazingly cute, especially when viewed in person. The fish tail is also highly detailed, though I opted to go with San's fully clothed human form for now as it is winter and swap to the tail and clamshell bra once July comes around. Here she is posing with her Nendoroid self that came earlier last week.


As mentioned early, due to some fantastic Momoists who made a trip to Comiket 75, I also managed to get a copy of Momoi's doujinshi "Siesta" which she sold at her own table (read about Momoi's full C75 experience at her Ameblo blog). The book sold out at the event and had buyers including Poyoyon Rock. It contains cover art by Magari Hiroaki, various essays, and even a short story "Do you remember me" written by Momoi and illustrated by Itou Ryou. A small Siesta tote bag can be used to hold the comic.

Finally, there's Cue! obtained from the same event, and is supposed to be Momoi's first single of 2009 and sold exclusively at Toranoana. It is an upbeat denpa song (specifically identified as such) used as the third opening for Momoi's radio show and to celebrate the show's 100th broadcast. Since Momoi created the song taking various suggestions from her radio listeners, in the "producers" section of the credits on the inside cover, "Chou! Momo-i listeners" are listed. The song contains many denpa tropes and the very much missed "fu fu fu fu" making it quite receptive to infinite looping.

Posted by Paranda at 5:39 PM | Comments (2)

January 10, 2009

Momoi calendar, San nendoroid, Hot Shot Jr.


Hmm I haven't done one of these posts in a while. I finally got all my December packages and opened everything up today. Time to show some stuff...


Hot Shot Jr. didn't look so hot in the old pictures, but in fact is totally awesome now that I notice how many decals go on it. These little racing logos really make the car, with designs for GURA GURA, ENTER, and other titles. The only reason I haven't built it yet is because I don't have any gold paint right now to spray down the hood. The special postcard is also nice, but again to reiterate, best part about this time's Tamiya release is definitely the Momoi stickers. One day I will commission a racing suit that just has these Momoi "sponsors" all over it for use in concert outings.


m.m.m. fan club members also got a 2009 edition Momoi desk calendar this year. It's perfect for putting up on your desk at work so the entire team knows you are a kimo-ota and will line you up for the next round of lay offs. Luckily all fixed income guys are really nerdy so I might get away with it...nah probably not. It's really cute though.


Here are all the months. Upon seeing the panda costume on Dec, I could have sworn I saw a whole set of these posted by Momoi on her blog, but after searching I must have simply remembered wrong. It is in the same style as the tiger costume she wore for her Toranoana instore event though.


Also picked up the Seto no Hanayome OVA Jin special edition pack that came out. The DVD case is inside a second clear slipcover case which is pointless but pretty.



The main reason I bought it was for the included Nendoroid figure of San though, who is voiced by Momoi.


Here is the size compared to a standard Nendoroid figure. I actually prefer smaller size though, since there isn't exactly much detail that needs to be molded in. The smaller size means you can fit it on your desk that much more easily instead of sitting in a box in limbo like Miku here. My desk at home is getting a bit cramped with all the figures.

That's it for now. Next time I should have the OrchidSeed 1/7 Seto San figure to show off. Then it will be the long purchasing freeze while I save up for a bunch of trips.

P.S.
Momoi made a post about akinator.com today. This is actually pretty funny to me because a few weeks ago I spent like 3 hours on that site just putting in Momoi a million times to build up their question and answer database. The Tsukune-chan one is especially funny. Yeah Tsukune has basically murdered people in cold blood several times.

Posted by Paranda at 4:53 PM | Comments (3)

December 30, 2008

Spring concert plans

Since my vacation days are about to replenish when 2009 rolls around, I have already started thinking about some events that are coming up. I'll post my plans early in case somebody else making the same trip would like to enter into some sort of buddy system to make traveling safer and easier and less boring.

First thing I am eyeing is Tamura Yukari's LOVE LIVE 2009 *Dreamy Maple Crown* tour from mid February to early March. Back when Pinkle Twinkle Milky Way came out, I swore to myself that one of these days I would run the Yukarin gauntlet and attend a bunch of concerts back to back. Love Live Chelsea Girl reinforced those intentions, and finally the "sample" Animelo performance pushed me over the edge. I can't wait any longer. I must attend this tour!!! An early search for airline tickets is showing me about $950 for a round trip during most of February. This is about $200 less than my flight for last September's Animelo trip, plus it is eligible for a first class seat upgrade thanks to a bunch of unused frequent flyer miles that I accumulated from the last trip. Additionally, if I factor in President's Day, it is entirely possible to attend 3 concerts in this tour while only using up 7 vacation days: Leave New York morning of 2/12, arrive in Tokyo 2/13, take shinkansen to Fukuoka and attend the 2/14 concert, do some random stuff in between, attend Osaka performance 2/21, Tokyo performance 2/22, and return to the US on 2/23 (arrive same day thanks to the time zone difference). This makes this trip very attractive economically, but things could get pretty expensive if I start bidding on FC front row seats instead of just buying general public tickets.

Second event I am looking at is the 2009 Honolulu Festival. US fans who missed out last time rejoice, because Momoi is a guest once again. Given the incidents that happened in Hawaii that time (wotagei on stage, going for a swim, shooting a fan video with Momoi), this trip is very very difficult to turn down if only for that 0.001% chance that they might happen again. This would be a short trip using just 4 vacation days (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Monday). Honolulu Festival itself is FREE, so the only costs would just be flight, hotel, and a few cases of glowsticks. Unfortunately, seeing that this takes place March 13-15, there is less than one month to recoup costs from "Dreamy Maple Crown." This makes budget a rather large concern, and may require a strictly enforced diet of bread and water, freezing cold nights without heat, and giving up all figure/CD purchases from now until March...especially as it would be unwise to dip into savings given the current environment.

So..if I had to pick only one, which should I choose?

Update 01/05/09:
Much to my dismay, I discovered there is a mini Momoi event (part of a larger Ani-Uta live) in Japan on the same day as one of the Yukari concerts. There is a slight gap in times, but it is too risky to attempt the two consecutively. Since the purpose of the trip is to attend Dreamy Maple Crown, I am forced to choose Yukari who has the more focused event. I will of course go to Hawaii in order to ease the pain of choosing one over the other. Also, I will likely shorten the Yukari trip to just one weekend 2/21 - 2/22 in order to conserve vacation days and expenses thus making the cost of all the trips manageable (spending another week in Tokyo to see only one more show costs nearly as much as simply flying out again in the future - not worth it). My second motivation for this cost cutting is due to anticipation of another *unconfirmed* Momoi event in May that, if finalized, I will attend (you know the one).

Posted by Paranda at 1:47 PM | Comments (5)

December 23, 2008

More details on 'Punk Collection' tracklist?

Bookservice.co.jp is the first site that I've heard of with an update to the Omniverse Seiyuu Punk Collection item on their order page.

Based on this list, some singers and trackes have been changed. None of this can be corroborated with any other source so far though, so take It with a grain of salt.

[update: 12/26/08] Amazon has the same list up which I guess is a confirmation of sorts.

1. Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen (Ikezawa Haruna)
2. Green Day - Basket Case (Ikezawa Haruna)
3. Iggy & The Stooges - Search & Destroy (Kadowaki Maii)
4. The Offspring - Pretty Fly (Kadowaki Maii)
5. The Clash - London's Burning (Goto Yuuko)
6. Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit (Goto Yuuko)
7. The Clash - White Riot (Shimizu Kaori)
8. Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop (Shimizu Kaori)
9. T.B.D (Tanaka Rie)
10. T.B.D (Tanaka Rie)
11. The Exploited - Sex & Violence (Momoi Halko)
12. Blondie - Call Me (Momoi Halko)

They should have gotten Ueda Kana to do one since she rages against the machine (presumably the establishment consisting of old men). Someone obviously spent too much time on XBL.


[update: 01/06/09] Release date pushed back to end of February :(

Posted by Paranda at 11:30 AM | Comments (5)

December 14, 2008

You have gained 366 days exp.

Momoi is now 31. It is a process she describes as "leveling up." You can congratulate her on her big achievement at ameblo!

She will be demonstrating her 2008 acquired abilities on 1/1/2009 with the release of Cue!

Posted by Paranda at 2:06 PM | Comments (1)

November 28, 2008

Seiyuu Punk Compi[lation]

Let's talk about the punk cover project that Momoi is participating in. People who get the CDJapan newsletters have probably already seen the advertisement for Seiyuu Punk Compi preorders.

The current roster consists of Momoi Halko, Sakura Nogawa, Ikezawa Haruna, Kadowaki Maii, Kuwashima Houko, and Shimizu Kaori. According to mu-mo, this CD will have twelve songs so I'm guessing we'll either see these six seiyuu covering two songs each or another six announced to make it one seiyuu per song (which would be awesome*1). We know Momoi can pull off some radical style changes, but the rest of the cast is untested in this genre as far as I've ever heard - pls. post examples if they exist. I suppose of the remaining group, Sakunyan is most likely to pull off something that doesn't sound like a donkey braying as I have a good idea of what voice she will probably use. This is not a knock on the member selection though. If they announce more artists, seiyuu like Morinaga Rika or Watanabe Akeno would probably feel right at home but I like this theme they're going with where they apparently select people at random with a dartboard and no regards to how much anything fits their projected persona or musical history.

So far we have a pretty diverse group of songs revealed (in no particular order):

Sex Pistols - Anarchy In the U.K.
The Crash - White Riot
Nirvana - Smells Like Teen Spirit
U2 - With or Without You 
Green Day - Basket Case 
Ramones - Blitzkring Bop
Rancid - Rudy Soho 
The Offspring - Pretty Fly

There is no indication of which seiyuu is covering which song and I have not been listening to any radio recently, but looking at the above list my guess is that Momoi would probably cover "Smells Like Teen Spirit" given that she is a Cobain fan. I don't know if the singers choose their own songs and how strict the genre guidelines are but another possibility could be Momoi covering a Weezer title. There is no mention of whether these songs will be rearranged to be more suited to the seiyuu, or if they are expected to imitate the originals. It is also unknown whether the lyrics will be Japanese or English. If they go with the latter options, the results will probably be a lot of fun in that jaw dropping train wreck sort of way, but something that any self respecting person could only hear exactly once before taking out a sledgehammer, smashing the CD to bits, and then if the hammer is still intact, smashing themselves to bits (assuming having lived through Kadowaki - hopefully she is placed at the beginning to put us out of our misery early). Therefore, for my own sadistic sake, please let it be the trainwreck.

Sound work will be done by FREE-WILL who has worked with some big names like DIR EN GREY so at least we can expect it to get polished to a mirror shine. Maybe it can even be used as a weapon for blinding.*2

P.S. Momoi's Hot Shot Jr. released tonight!

*1 No Hirano Aya please.
*2 Add Goto Yuko and it will become an illegal weapon of mass destruction.

Posted by Paranda at 2:31 PM | Comments (4)

November 10, 2008

Hot Shot Jr.

I haven't touched my Thundershot since it was built, and another Momoi mini4wd is already coming out. There's only a little over 2 weeks until Momoi's Ultra Orange Hot Shot Jr. is released. This one is kinda weird looking but I'm sure the postcard will be all worth it. The box cover is nice again, with Momoi wearing her signature uniform but with a crown on top (like she had in the live DVDs). You know maybe next year when things quiet down I will buy a track and set these racers up.

btw motto hade ni is too damn catchy and sanding down the insides of my skull because I am unable to stop it from looping in my mind. I never even watched the show! Yet somehow....

Posted by Paranda at 9:23 PM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2008

Matsuki Miyu owes 27% of her best songs to Momoi?

miyu.jpgSo I've basically been MIA for the past few weeks due to the unique combination of insane credit markets, CFA cramming, presidential election obsession, and an inability to resist reading economist blogs when I should be sleeping. A.K.A. "Getting the Grima Wormtongue makeover." But I will come out of my cave to mention that Matsuki Miyu's new "Best Songs" album released in late September caught me by surprise when hitting the playlist. Four out of the fifteen songs in there are written by Momoi including "Musume Gokoro Otome Gokoro," which I actually had never heard before. It's interesting stuff. In fact I hadn't realized Miyu was the singer for the Coco version of Kokodayo. It also has Camera=Mannenhitsu (Miyu's labeling doesn't include the !!! part even though it probably should), a bit of an amusing coincidence because I was really looking forward to hearing the same song in Momoi's self cover album coming out next month. Matsuki says they are really cheerful songs. Momoi is not mentioned by name in the liner notes commentary though

Posted by Paranda at 12:53 AM | Comments (1)

September 25, 2008

Thunder Shot Mk. II

I finally found some time to build this thing. Of course I didn't plan far ahead enough to think of buying a Tamiya track so the car is basically unusable. it looks nice though and the box pictures are pretty much worth the purchase alone.


This is a great picture and I wish they made posters of these. Maybe I'll blow up one to use for myself.


My plan for immediate gratification ruined as "some assembly required." The included postcard is very cute though and makes me want to buy another one of these.


I suck at models though, so the simple task of applying enamel somehow turned into a terrible ordeal involving scalpels, staples, vast quantities of paint thinner, and a mess that would make my middle school art teacher stick pencils in her arteries. Don't even get me started on the grease. On the bright side my digestive organs probably experience less abrasive friction now given the amount accidentally ingested.


Finished product. Racer Momoi will beat all comers!

Posted by Paranda at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

September 7, 2008

Momoi pilgrimage site: Akihabara


Tora no ana main store: topic in Momoi's Koko da yo, Enter, and other songs. Frequently has Momoi promotions in the display wiinow, although during the time we went, the current feature was Sakakibara Yui.


Hourin Park: Location of the playground structure Momoi posed on for the cover of the special edition Yume no baton.

Posted by Paranda at 10:18 PM | Comments (1)

September 3, 2008

Momoi pilgrimage site: Inokashira Park


Visited the huge Inokashira park in Kichijoji the other day.


Exhibit A: Lake that Momoi and her horse companion rowed on.
http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/ax1513319


Exhibit B: The bridge from the infamous recorder scene.
http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/ax1651925


There was a big shrine in the park so a charm had to be made. Hmm can you guess which one?

Posted by Paranda at 9:45 PM | Comments (1)

September 2, 2008

Some photos taken over Animelo weekend


Ikebukuro. This will be home for the duration of the trip to Japan.


There is lots to see and do. But since this is a Momoist/otaku blog, let's just skip all the other touristy stuff I did and get to the substance...


animate! 9 floors of stuff. Took a good 4-5 hours to look through it all.


k-books (lots of good used stuff and comiket items)


Only bought a few things...spent conservatively since if I want to waste money on things that should never see the light of day, there was still all of Akihabara and Nakano Broadway.


Spotted while heading toward Animelo on 8/30.


Was so excited to be walking toward Saitama Super Arena


The Arena.


Merchandise tables. Combo sets and wristbands were sold out unfortunately by the time I got there. Picked up 2 shirts, towels, and pamphlet.


Outside map. Momoists set up camp in the marked area the next day.


Crowd began to swell as time got closer.


Had a blast at the concert. Jaw dropped when trying to find the number marked on the ticket and then the realization they were direct stage-side seats. Damn this thing was long. A great time was had, but I learned my lesson this time. 2 ultra oranges, 2 pinks, and 2 neon sticks is NOT ENOUGH. Wanted to UO on so many good acts but blew my entire stash right out the door with Yukari.


Goods obtained from the concert. Managed to catch a streamer that got shot out of the cannon during the encore. Since the thing was right next to me, when it went off I thought something exploded and nearly ducked for cover.

8/31

Posing with another Momoist.


Huge group of Momoists hanging out in the lower food court while waiting for seating to open. It was the same reliable group that has been to every concert I've ever seen so far. They came from all over. Some big trips to see Momoi include travellers from Osaka, Aomori (8 hrs by train), and even Korea.


T-shirt present for Momoi. Everybody included their own personal message. Takayama Saki (actress of Momoi from Haruko Update) was also attending Animelo to support Momoi and showed up to sign the shirt and say hello to Momoists.


These seats were actually pretty good and you could get a clear view of the performers as well as the entire arena. The "not as lucky" comparison is only relative to day 1, but otherwise it was awesome.


Lesson learned from day 1: stock glowsticks!!! Used up 15 ultra oranges, 6 ultra pinks, 2 ultra greens, 4 red and blue glowing bracelets, and fully drained 6 AAA batteries for neon red and neon blue light sticks.


Picked up 2 MOSAIC.WAV shirts along the way.

Still in Japan right now this is concise to save time. If you want to see parts of day 2 including Momoi you can probably find some recorded segments on Nico or Youtube although I won't bother posting the links since they will be constantly deleted/reuploaded. Also consider visiting seiyuu3 for a more detailed description of other artist acts.

Visited Akiba and a few other famous Momoi spots and specific stores/buildings thanks to a local fan who took a full day off to play ad-hoc tour guide. Maybe will visit more Momoists in Kyoto and we have a Suara concert to go see on Saturday. Let's see how it goes.

Posted by Paranda at 11:35 AM | Comments (3)

July 26, 2008

Yells ~It's a beautiful life~

The new Animelo theme song has come out this week. Since a version has begun floating around online I couldn't resist but preview it while I wait for my copy. The song is rather simple but I derived great enjoyment at the constant switching up of singers, which occurs much more frequently than the previous three Animelo theme songs. Aside from a slightly annoying pronunciation of "Yell", the song has quickly grown on me after multiple listening sessions, and I currently rank it somewhere above Generation A and below Outride.

This year, Momoi got to have three solo lines, slightly up from last year, and more noticeable thanks to more balanced artist rotation (though some still got more coverage than others). Meanwhile, Mizuki Nana, Arika, and most of JAM Project except Makkun got major cuts in their line count, possibly in favor of promoting some newer acts and also because of how many verses they had in previous years.

Unfortunately despite her increased role, Momoi does not appear much in the accompanying video since she was not present during the taping of the group session. The only Momoi footage was of her individual recording session, which is played during her solo segments. This is a shame because she appears in the video very sharply dressed and in perfect makeup, giving off an incredibly radiant smile that would have been sure to draw some attention from anyone getting their first exposure to Momoi in this video. One thing that Momoi is really good at is smiling. Also as consistent with last year's DVD reveal when responding to a comment by Yoffy, Momoi always records sitting down so it was interesting to see her posture again in contrast to other artists who did their singing while standing up.


Thoughts on other artists:
1. Best delivery goes to Suara, for her version of "立ち止まらずに歩こう" compared to everyone else who sang the same line.

2. Tanimiya looks WAYYYY different from what I expected him to look since he is usually so clean cut in cast pictures.

3. I almost didn't recognize Ishikawa Chiaki despite seeing her in person at AX last year, and almost missed it since she only got one solo line like Arika. She looks like she reverse aged 20 years.

4. Kitadani is awesome as usual and likes to acknowledge the camera. Yoffy still does his handwaving. I miss seeing Naonii do his neck twisty thing whenever he sings though...this was not the year he should have sat out now that I'm finally going to see it dammit!

5. I have no clue who the hell May'n is, why is she part of Animelo again? I guess I am ok with her though, based on the video.

6. It is going to be fun seeing how they are going to split this up between like 40 people on stage for each day. I also seriously cannot picture denpa singers like Shaori or MI~KO doing anything this poppy at all. My mind will be blown.

Posted by Paranda at 1:53 AM | Comments (2)

July 25, 2008

Momoi international schedule updates

Momoi was added to Connichi 2008 officially this week by convention organizers on their message board. This will be the second year in a row that she will attend the convention in Kassel, Germany. If you are thinking about making the trip from other parts, halko-momoi.de has no shortage of friendly bilingual German Momoists willing to help you out.

Announced earlier this Month, Momoi and angela are performing with live bands in Taiwan at the Taipei City Hall Theatre on Saturday afternoon 9/28. It is the first time Momoi has performed with a band abroad. Momoi has also partnered with travel agency JTB again to offer another "official fanclub tour" which includes dinner with Momoi and sightseeing for a minimum of 20 people.

Posted by Paranda at 9:34 AM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2008

3 days left until Momoi DVD release

It has been too long without a Momoi concert DVD release. Finally the week has arrived, causing me to think about it on a daily basis. COVER BEST LIVE in CLUB CITTA and Momo-i Sunday Early Morning Live @ Shibuya-AX come out this Friday, followed by the Feel So Easy CD single on the following Monday MONTH.

Toranoana also has updated their store page with a picture of the DVD jacket (including back cover!). The set list looks very exciting.

Posted by Paranda at 10:03 PM | Comments (3)

July 16, 2008

An account of Momoist ongoings at Anime North 2008

So this post has been sitting for almost two months because I wanted to wait until I got a dress stand and glass case to show off a certain special item, but it looks like that is not happening soon. I figured I should probably post this before Animelo comes around or it will get outdated if I start posting about the next Momoi event and this STILL isn't up. On May 23-25 weekend, several Momoists made a trip to Ontario, Canada to see Momoi perform at Anime North. Specific names have been omitted for privacy reasons.

Arriving in Toronto on Friday morning, I and another fan (we drove up in a car from New York) met up with everyone at a hotel to drop off 1300 glowsticks packed in our trunk purchased with funds donated by various fans. In all, our little international group consisted of 7 members from Japan, 4 from US west coast, and 2 from US east coast. After settling down and swapping materials (Momoi doujinshi, call books, Hawaii DVD, posters, etc) we headed out to a nearby Canadian chain family restaurant Swiss Chalet for lunch. Some American fans had the idea to secretly arrange a surprise for the Japanese fans by inviting Momoi to the same lunch.

We finished our food a little earlier than expected, and Momoi showed up a little later than expected. These circumstances led to hilariously obvious attempts to stall for more time at the restaurant via repeated ordering of drinks. After what seemed like an eternity due to the stress, Momoi appeared in a conspicuous sweet lolita dress complete with ribbons, lace, and a rabbit ears hood. She arrived along with manager Mr. Suzuki, Mr. Sawa (I remember this guy because he was on the delivery signature for fanclub calendar), and one other guy who was filmed the whole event. After going around to thank each person, Momoi settled into the middle of our table of 13 where she received gifts from almost everyone, including Japanese fans who apparently keep a stash of presents and concert materials on hand just to be ready for the remote possibility of meeting her any time. We also pooled some money to get a gift for Mr. Suzuki for letting the whole thing happen even though Momoi's schedule was so packed. Although we would have been satisifed with just a few minutes of interaction, the whole thing went down way better than expected as Momoi spent a pretty long time with everyone at the restaurant.


After this, we headed to the con to pick up some volunteer passes (one fan had managed to contact AN staffers and explained our plans to distribute glowsticks and teach calls, so they ended up making us official con volunteers). An unexpected perk to being part of the fan club and also volunteering was that AN staff let us into the "Meet & Greet" event room before the scheduled time. We just decided to spend the entire duration of the session with Momoi. Since the area was very limited in size and only limited to about 60 people across ALL guests, there weren't many people there and only a few recognized Momoi. Because of that, we managed to hog Momoi all to ourselves without feeling guilty about preventing someone else from having a chance. Actually, every time someone not from the fan club came over, it was a big exciting event to see how Momoi would interact with them.


One such notable incident was when a young Mii cosplayer was spotted by Momoi in the room. Momoi pretty much flipped out when she saw this and ran over to the cosplayer screaming "MIITAN" and possibly freaking out the cosplayer's mom. Speaking excitedly in half broken English and half Japanese, Momoi tried to explain she was the Japanese voice actress for Mii, and jumped up and down exclaiming "pikohan magical" and other signature Mii phrases while trying to get the girl to follow suit. When the cosplayer had left, Momoi said she got so excited that a little girl did it with all the correct accessories.


Momoi spoke too soon, because minutes later when we were posing for a photo, she turned around to find the Mii cosplayer back, but this time carrying something Momoi did not anticipate: Popotan underwear (as see on TV). This caused Momoi to giggle uncontrollably, followed up by a literal anime-style spin and collapse. She launched herself at a nearby table that I was sitting at. She declared the popotan apparel to be awesome and insisted on taking pictures while holding it up. Momoi ended up signing and mock-wearing them.

It should be noted that Momoists who never got a chance to see an UNDER17 concert live owe this cosplayer a HUGE debt of gratitude, because she directly inspired Momoi to sing one of her most famous old songs the next day: Popotan! Holy shit I never thought I would ever hear that one live in post-UNDER17 times...

Thanks cosplayer whoever you are!

At this event, we would also meet some new fans who joined the fan club on location, and helped out with the concert call preparations later on.


Immeidately after, we staked out the plaza ballroom for an hour to fill in the front row for opening ceremonies and make sure Momoi got cheered when introduced. While waiting, we scoped out the stage for the concert which would be in the same room. Everyone had glowsticks ready that they wave for cheering when Momoi went on stage but we ended up breaking a few of them early when Momoi suddenly came out and sat in the front row with us while waiting to go on stage. Following protocol, Momoi got massively cheered anyway when announced to go on stage. AN was pretty generous to her and treated her like a major keynote speaker at the opening, so she had plenty of time to talk to the fans and describe her feelings about coming to Canada.

Following the opening ceremony, we had a quick makeshift dinner of hotdogs and headed to lineup at Momoi's Q&A panel. The turnout was decent.At the panel, Momoi squashed the rumor that she was under Avex's thumb in terms of image and said she enjoys controls her current style. She also talked a bit about her clothing and how she became interested in lolita fashion. She revealed that she wore the same outfit when touring Casa Loma earlier that morning since she felt it suited the setting, being a castle and all, and the swords in there "looked kind of scary." As the session drew to a close, Momoi helped out our Momoist call workshop by giving it a little publicity and asking everyone to attend it so they could learn how idol calls work in Japan. Momoi also apparently was not referencing the Knights who say NI in her Naito de Naito song (although she said her friend Nogawa Sakura is a big fan of Monty Python).

After the panel ended, we headed back to the hotels to plan for the next day. The fanclub began applying Momoi sticker labels to the huge pile of glowsticks with amazing efficiency finishing all 1300 in about an hour.

The next day, we hauled all the materials to ballroom in order to set up the Momoist call workshop. Attendance was quite sparse with only about 10 showing up although this grew gradually as the panel went on. However all participants were highly enthusiastic and not in the least embarassed to be learning and doing the calls with the rest of us. The steps were taught directly by a Japanese fan and subsequently translated by another west coast fanclub member and were pretty informative, going over concepts like rallying calls and tips on recognizing them, UO signals, meanings behind some hand gestures, song-specific chants, and even practicing on another member who acted as a stand-in for Momoi. For a (very basic) example of some of the things covered, you can see a few at the Momoi call website.


After we finished hosting the workshop, we stuck around to take some group photos with a few fans who had attended the workshop and then headed to lunch. Then we headed back to the stage area to measure out and cut streamers. These were basically long ribbons that we would throw towards the stage during the concert (but not long enough to hit Momoi), and materials to make them were brought courtesy of one fan had pointed out Momoi liked idol concerts with streamers and hoped to give her the same treatment.

Near the start of the concert, staff began showing up. We went over a basic explanation of what were were planning to do with the glowsticks so they cordoned off a section of the front for us and gave us a place backstage to stash all of our stuff and change into our concert gear. Once plaza ballroom doors opened, people began filing in. Several members were stationed at the door, with others patrolling the aisles to make sure everyone had working glowsticks (now we know why those glowsticks were cheap: about 10% of them were duds). I ended up filling my loading belt with returned or defective glowsticks as long as they still gave off some amount of light.


I won't go too much into the concert, as there is already a great summary of concert specifics (broken down by songs) at denpa no sekai written up by another fanclub member who was with us. I can say it was the most fun I had since Hawaii. My only complaint revolves around the bracelet system, since it was all the way at the other end of the convention center they should have just been letting people when the concert itself started instead of having them go back to get a bracelet (although they might have done this later and I just didn't know).

When it was over, Momoi said she would be giving autographs downstairs in half an hour. Since we had already monopolized Momoi most of the previous day, the fanclub decided to sit out the autograph session so anybody who became a new fan from the concert could have a slightly better chance to get in line for Momoi. As the crowd exited and began lining up at the stairs, we decided to take a break around the stage area instead before going backstage to retrieve our things. Momoi surprised everyone there by showing up backstage and thanked everyone again before leaving to host her autograph session at the merchandise table. We just in a group next to the autograph table to observe the line and see the interactions Momoi had with other fans.

Since that was the last Momoi event for the day and the last day for our con responsibilities, at night we did regular touristy things like visit downtown Toronto, check out Casa Loma, and eat at the rotating restaurant at the top of the CN tower. Apparently we hadn't considered the CN tower restaurant was supposed to be fairly ritzy so we all 13 of us went in still wearing t-shirts, Momoi wristbands, backpacks, glowstick holsters, otagei jackets, etc...much to the disdain of the waiters serving us who seemed clearly irritated.


On Sunday we attended an awards brunch since Momoi was supposed to be a guest there. Momoi noticed us from her table and came over several times to chat. No matter how many times she does this, it still impresses me that Momoi likes to establish such rapport from fans...having approached us first before we approached her (originally we had remained respectful distance and simply waved because we didn't want to interrupt her meal).



Momoi hosted a second panel that afternoon which, following the concert, which was understandbly much more packed than the last one and had people standing at the doors due to lack of room. The crowd was pretty lively, and Momoi joked around a lot with the audience: She suggested putting a glowstick should be in the Toronto museum since it marked a historic event. When asked if she had many boyfriends in middle school, she replied only in her imagination, and sometimes, she was the boyfriend (referring to times when she would play bishoujo games). When apologizing for her English being bad, she sang "Good Enough" impromptu as an example of what kind of English she knew. Momoi said a number of times how much she appreciated people coming from around the world to see her and invited everyone to visit Akihabara and come see her in Japan some day.




After the panel, we headed to catch Momoi at the charity auction. First auction item was one of the glowstick boxes, signed by Momoi and renamed the "Memory box" which was picked up for $40 by one of the new Momoists that we met earlier during the Meet & Greet. A T-Shirt signed by all the guests including Momoi went for $120. Momoi had also signed a copy of her "Halko Momoi Best Clip" DVD but due to technical difficulties with getting the DVD to play during the auction and time constraints, it was not auctioned off separately. Last item was Momoi's LOVE.EXE dress that she wore in her music video shown here:

I ended up winning it for $750, proceeds which I think went to a local childrens' hospital. The auctioneers decided to just throw in the signed DVD too since they didn't have any time left to auction it, and Momoi wrote some more stuff on the CD case. Then some staffer told me it was the highest charity bid so far in AN's short history so I'm glad at that at least for now, they can say Momoi was responsible for it.

The last activity of the day was Momoi's final autograph session in the afternoon. We had previously decided to sit this one out since the lines opened at the same time as the auction, and we wanted to cheer at the auction instead. So, we just did the same thing as last time and waited around the autograph table for Momoi to finish without being on line ourselves. The line had closed at that time due to the maximum capacity being reached anyway. However a nice staffer saw us and let us know that Momoi would go overtime and do some extra autographs for fanclub members so I got a Sunday Early Morning tour shirt signed. We met Momoi one last time at the staff exit to send her off (a fanclub member apparently had a really sharp eye for spotting Momoi).

After Momoi left, we decided we would spend the rest of the time doing a bit more sightseeing in Canada rather than spend it at a convention without Momoi, so our group squeezed together into three cars and headed for Niagara Falls. After enjoying the falls we headed up to the shops to see explore the shops. One last ditch effort was made to find Momoi again, as we had received information earlier that Momoi might be touring Niagara Falls so a small search party went down along the falls to stalk accidentally bump into Momoi while we kept browsing the stores. It proved unsuccessful however, so they eventually gave up after multiple passes. We had dinner at some jungle themed restaurant which had a cake with sparklers on it.

On Monday after a night's rest, I and the other east coast Momoist made the drive back to the States while West coast and Japan crew headed for the airport. It had been a great weekend jam packed with Momoi events almost nonstop. On our way back, as one final tribute to Momoi we stopped by Casa Loma in the morning to take this:

We stole the angle from Momoi's blog.

Posted by Paranda at 1:22 AM | Comments (6)

June 22, 2008

Thundershot Mk.II pre-order

Since Thundershot Mk.II Momoi version preorders started, I have been looking around the web hoping to find somewhere that shipped overseas. A vendor finally turned up.


http://hobbyworld.aoshima-bk.co.jp/scripts/hw/seeke.aspx?seek_code=TAM08062001

They seem to be a small shop (Aoshima Bunka Kyozai) with an online page that only recently started supporting overseas customers. Their english version of the site is shady as hell and the credit card entry page isn't even encrypted but what the heck I took the plunge and ordered with them.

It isn't as cool as the pink chrome one depicted in TAMIYA's youtube video which seems to be something you can only get at events (or not at all?), but this one is cool too with the momoi wing stickers. Actually even just buying the box is worth it since it has such a cute picture of Momoi waving a checkered flag on it.

The car itself is pretty cheap, being only $9 if applying the pre-order discount. Total came out to $29 after including EMS shipping. The product is supposed to be released in early August. Hopefully the site is legit. I'll follow up if I actually get it that month.

Momoi liked toy cars ever since she was a kid. Once in primary school, Momoi thought it would be a great present for a gift exchange at her Christmas party. Unfortunately the other girl who got Momoi's present didn't like it at all and didn't even take it home. When Momoi saw it, she felt very alone when she realized her interests didn't fit in with normal girls.

Now, just by lending her name, she will help sell many of these cars, and maybe with the design more girls will start to like them too.

Update: HLJ is carrying it now!

Double-ordered to be safe. Maybe I will have two cars to race against each other :)

Posted by Paranda at 2:42 AM | Comments (7)

June 16, 2008

Feel so Easy!

A new Momoi single "Feel So Easy!" has been listed on CDJapan
Feel so Easy! / Haruko Momoi

Comes with poster on pre-order. Release date is 8/27/08.

Apparently it is an opening theme to Mission-E which is airing next month, and is a second season to Code-E that came out last year. Both shows have Momoi in them as a secondary character.

I never finished the first season since it was kind of boring and Momoi didn't show up nearly enough. Maybe I should give the series another chance.

Posted by Paranda at 8:41 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2008

Momoi talks about Akihabara stabbing incident

Momoi has published a fairly lengthy entry about her feelings about the tragic Akihabara stabbing incident. As most may know, Momoi, the Queen of Akiharaba, has a very special attachment to the place and has always talked about it fondly, even releasing a memoir about growing up alongside it. The latest crime has affected her very deeply.

I felt her latest entry on the topic was very good piece reflecting her frustration about what has happened, and it seems like something every Momoi fan should read.

The following is an unofficial quick translation. Standard disclaimer about claiming no affiliation with Momoi, no guarantee for accuracy, etc..

Now read on...

------

To readers of MOMOBURO,

I have many memories of Akihabara's main street. As a middle schooler, I would make friends with the arcade people and have conversations with the customers.

When I found CDs that I was looking for, I would impatiently open it in a nearby cafe to look at the lyrics card. Around the time I was a highschool student, I would ride the train by myself in the mornings to go see idol events. Waiting in front of the shuttered event doors, seeing my likeminded comrades it made me happy.

The promotional video for my debut CD was produced in Akihabara. It was very emotional to see my own songs streaming at Akihabara's storefront. At a modest event hall, seeing everyone singing and jumping to the music and the emotions swelling, at that moment I felt that without a doubt, this was the most fun place in the entire world.

And there were many many more other wonderful memories.

To me, every single leaf of the tree lined streets and the color of the roads evokes pleasant memories. Just from visiting it my heart became a more enjoyable place.

I became an adult, a singer, a seiyuu, and even recently a guest who was invited abroad. In Germany, a male anime fan told me "In my life, just once, I want to visit Akihabara." In Canada, a girl into Lolita fashion said to me, with difficulty in Japanese, and with sparkles in her eyes, "My dream is to go to Akihabara." For me, those words made me so happy, so proud; I said "Yes, let's meet next time in Akihabara!"

In that Akihabara, a great tragedy has happened.

Just like that, in the slightly chaotic shopping center where it should never have happened, it is now something that can never be taken back. The dead can not be returned. The scars of the injured can not be healed. Feelings that had not been felt until now are welling up.

In that place where I have smiled so much, I felt I could not anymore. In that location, that scene, that place which is so important to me, that place where listeners of my radio show surely call the "Holy Land", it is ironic that we are forced to say "give back everyone's yearning and joyful feelings!" Akihabara is a place that is very dear to me. It is a place that has become sad.

Thinking over and over as I trying to find way to reconcile these feelings, I only further realized my own powerlessness. But for people who loved Akihabara, those lives that were stolen away like that, I felt I couldn't just do nothing. So although it may have been a little conspicuous, I put my hands together in that place for those people who died, and I made a wish for their happiness in the next life from the bottom of my heart, and on the morning of the 9th, I made an offering of flowers.

When I arrived at Akihabara station, it looked like the weather was going to be rainy. At the mouth of Electric Town, I saw that many news vans were lined up there. Near the intersection of the incident, the scenery was different from the usual. Near there were many people with one atmosphere: they were wearing arm bands, carrying equipment, reporter types. Among that crowd, I saw that the shopping district had been set up with tents, under which there were flower altars. Upon seeing those, the reality of the situation slowly began to sink in. This place wasn't the usual main street. It had become a crime scene.

I drew closer to the flower altar, saying "excuse me" as I opened up a path. Having done that, one after another, those reporters were calling out to me. "Are you related to the victims, are you an acquaintance of the dead parties?".... Hearing the same thing repeated over and over, it was almost unbearable as I tried to ignore my annoyance at them. But I didn't say anything and I quickly brought my flowers to the altar and unwrapped them. As soon as I had done so, light shined from the immense number of camera flashes.

"Please don't take pictures," I asked, but even as I placed down the flowers to pray, the lights continued.

"Please stop taking pictures" I said, once again. After that, whenever there was a flash I pleaded "please don't take pictures" many times. In the end, I finally said it pretty loudly. I put my entire heart into that plea, but instead people only continued to interrupt with the sound of shutters and the light from flashes. I clasped my hands together and said "please stop" over and over, my tears were flowing out. Then I stopped saying anything.

I thought "for something so sad, can't I at least be allowed to pay my respects? I truly can't do anything. What should I do?" I said a short prayer, and though I wanted to run away, I realized I would regret it. So I turned around once again, and from the bottom of my heart, I was able to put my hands together. In that moment, even though there were flashes from people, I had already accepted it as something that I couldn't change. It was something that cannot be described with words...an extreme sadness that I had never felt until then. Even after that, they followed me, and labeled me as "grieving family" as they called out to me. I responded "No" and walked away. It was a very very unpleasant feeling.

Before the incident happened, when I met newspaper and magazine reporters in this place covering an event, they had been kind, principled, and overall just good people. When I thought my love for Akihabara could be made into a report, and transmitted to readers, and preserved into future generations, my heart would fill with gratitude. I thought about having a photo in the middle of an article, showing how much I love Akihabara with the biggest smile I had ever seen. But today, in the same place, facing those cameras, it was completely different from that time. My memories were steadily being turned upside down. It was very sorrowful.

Once, Akiba's pedestrian shopping district was supposed to be a fun place. There was a girl who came to hear her own songs, from early in the morning, carrying equipment to come sing, dreaming of becoming a singer. There were people performing tricks, and there were dancers too. And there were cosplayers too. But, those kinds of people have also been immediately warned, arrested, or taken in by police.

And yet, here and now, there are these big cameras and microphones preying on the emotionally wounded, and people who are arguing loudly about business on cellphones in a place where others are trying to bring flowers to the dead. And even though they are occupying the middle of the street, and their cars are parked in the middle of the road, not a word is said to them. There are policemen nearby, but none of them were in front of the altars paying any attention to it.

But even before the law, I really wish people would just be more considerate of others. I get a little lost, and just stare mindlessly at the scene. Gradually, the rain began to fall. The roads would be filled with people, there umbrellas colliding. It would be very troublesome. The stores are open, but in this kind of atmosphere nobody goes inside. I cry from the feeling of loneliness. It was the first time I shed tears in Akihabara for a reason other than happiness.

I really yearned for the fun I had in Akihabara with all the fans and their smiling faces. Boys and girls who came to my live, they always had such lovely smiling faces to cheer me up. On many TV programs, Akiba-kei otaku are portrayed as disgusting, and targets to be laughed at. I often receive requests like "I want to see Momoi and her fans appear together on variety programs and participate in stuff like Otagei Taikai," but I reject them. If we did appear on that kind of show, how would it be portrayed as? My fans, though they strike weird poses from time to time, and though they dance in funny ways, they always follow the rules, give and take seats courteously, clean up after any garbage, and are mannered ladies and gentlemen. In front of the media who block the way in front of this altar, which side do you think will be portrayed?

I opened my cellphone under the overhang of the UDX building. I didn't know any others within the same industry who felt the same way about Akihabara. Though I searched for blogs, the searching method was difficult so I didn't find any. I thought about updating my own blog too, but I was in a sloppy mood. At any rate, feeling lonely and wanting to meet someone who could understand, I went into a familiar store. I talked a little with the people in the store, and I did some autographs. There, I added "I love Akihabara" and postscript indicating my gratitude to Akihabara.

After that I went to a radio recording. During the program, I didn't talk about the incident. I felt, "to help those who have been hurt to begin healing, I had to provide an existence of encouragement" so I did a cheerful radio session.

Returning from work, I met with some otaku friends of mine, and we talked about the incident. At that time, my body wasn't feeling very good and though I was withering, I wanted to convey what it felt like to have no place to go, so I talked about it with all my might. My friend, shedding tears, listened to what I had to say. Thereafter, they said "I want you to put this in your blog. There are definitely people who feel the same way as you out there", so it is why I have written this.

Though it was sad, I think I somehow wanted to do it. Though I am far from perfect, I want to be a kind person to others. My words may not be eloquent and may be irritating, but I put in all of my heart to convey my feelings. People who love Akihabara and have been hurt like me, people who yearn for Akihabara, people who feel depressed, please, feel better. Akihabara stores, please, do your best. I will not diminish, and tomorrow, I will do my best in what I want to do.

Those who have injuries, I am praying for your recovery. Families and friends who have been hurt emotionally, I wish for those wounds to mend.

Thank you for reading this to the end,

2008/06/09, Night, Momoi Haruko

Posted by Paranda at 5:13 AM | Comments (5)

May 15, 2008

New Momoi DVDs and point system

A couple of interesting things have been added to Momoi's discography page. Two new DVDs are scheduled to be released on July 25th: Sunday Early Morning LIVE @ SHIBUYA AX recorded on 4/20/2008 and COVER BEST LIVE in CLUB CITTA, recorded on 6/24/2007.

The cost is 7560 yen per DVD, and each purchase will include one of 3 random photographs, a remix CD, and a special promotion postcard. If you buy both DVDs and apply to the promotional campaign with the postcards, you get an original T-shirt present. Additionally, you qualify to be randomly selected for an autograph (100 available) as well as an invitation to a private tea party (10 spots).

As part of the momo-i point club promotion, if you buy these DVDs through "mu-mo shop" by June 25th, you can earn 1 "momopo" for every 1000 yen you spend. These points can be used to redeem prizes such as momo-i point club telephone card set, with the most significant reward being a backstage invitation to the in-store release/minilive event if you can get 50 momo-i points.

Update:
CDJapan has started pre-orders. For overseas fans who do not have a way of buying them through mu-mo, please buy them here!

Cover Best Live In Club Citta [DVD+CD] / Haruko Momoi
Sunday Early Morning Live @Shibuya Ax [DVD+CD] / Haruko Momoi

You could use this coupon.

Note that these are affiliate links now so I also get some bonus points if you follow the links from this site :)

Posted by Paranda at 10:01 PM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2008

ENJOY WITH MOMOI IN HF: Sunday (part 2)

When the concert was over, Momoi set up a table for autographs. The crowd was much bigger this time, and you could see people who you would never expect scrambling to buy shirts, CDs, and fliers as souvenirs. Entire families were waiting ranging from small children to teenagers to musclebound tough guys to grandparents. Even Momoi's limo driver ended up joining the line. Ad-hoc interviews were also done on the spot by local newspapersch. Like the previous day, the fan club decided to wait off the line until everybody else could go. Japanese momoists were more interested in documenting the incongruous audience phenomenon, eagerly snapping pictures of "unlikely" fans. In the end, because of the larger crowd, Momoi was not able to sign things for us. That was ok though, as fanclub members would see Momoi again later at the closing dinner.

Nyol and I had a bit of a scare on the way back to the hotel though. He and I were the last ones to leave (around 4:30 PM) in order to help get cabs for everyone else. Unfortunately, the final cab was incredibly late because major roads had been closed for the parade. We spent a hellishly SLOW 45 minute ride back to the hotel nervously wondering if we were going to miss the dinner, at one point contemplating just walking the rest of the way. We ended up making it on time though, and it was nice of the cab driver to just stop the meter at $20 to prevent the fare from getting to ridiculous levels.

The dinner was a catered event in one of the hotel's conference rooms. Seating arrangements were groups of 6 - 8 at round tables, with Momoi having her own individual table/panel at the front of the room. Drinks were served by a minibar in the corner. Prior to starting the meal, everyone went around the room to touch glasses with Momoi and each other. The menu lineup was soup, steak and chicken cutlet, and a custard tart with fruit.

While eating, Momoi would talk about various topics using her table microphone, such as her thoughts on the concert, the experience in Hawaii, and upcoming roles and events. She also broke into evil "ohohoho" laughs quite frequently. During the course of the dinner, her manager Suzuki also had a speech thanking everyone for the success of the trip. Due to nature of the room, the whole format was a little more reserved but fans were still free to call out at any time or go up to her table. Momoi remarked that she really thought it was great that everyone could get on stage, prompting Vesper to show Momoi footage of the final performance that he captured on camera.


When dessert was nearly finished, Mandi and I brought out our secret present which we had kept concealed from everyone: 21 ounces of customized pink M&M candies with "momo-i" and "moe is rock" printed on the shells, stored in a special "Sunday early morning" themed box. When Momoi opened it, she doubled back and did a crazy prolonged "UWAAAAAAAH! UWAAAAAAAH!! UWAAAAAAAAAAH!!! UWAAAAAAAAAAHHHH!!!!" scream with her hands on her face. She was so excited, the entire room stopped to stare at her. We took this opportunity to reveal the second bonus as we also included smaller individually wrapped packs for everyone else in the room. It seemed to be pretty well received as everybody spent a lot of time taking pictures.

After this, Momoi decided to get a bit more interactive with fans with a series of activities. First she issued a question which will not be repeated here, but the answer could only have been obtained if one had the unusual foresight of looking up Momoi's skirt during the concert. There were no winners. The second activity was a round of bingo, with the first three winners getting special Hawaiian shoulder bags that Momoi bought from ABC. I ended up tying as the first bingo so I got to have one. Then, she made the rounds at the tables for about 15-20 minutes each for individual attention, chatting, posing, trying out gadgets, doing calligraphy, or autographing. This lasted until the end of the dinner around 9:30PM. When everything was done, Momoi gave a final thank you speech in tears.


From there, we each lined up at the door to receive a gift from Momoi and JTB: a large print of a group photograph we had taken earlier when everyone was on stage. Momoi signed and wrote thank you messages to each person as they picked up their copy. Even after leaving the conference room, things did not end though. The fans packed into the elevator to head back down to the lobby, while Momoi and staff stayed the outside. Even as we were near maximum capacity, Momoi suddenly started walking toward us as if to get into the elevator, then stopped, then started again. In what seemed to be a few moments of internal debate, she finally got a "ah what the hell, I'll give them what they want" look on her face and crammed herself into the elevator with us. Everybody cheered. Yet another service to fans, courtesy of Momoi.

In the second floor JTB lobby, to celebrate the end of a successful trip, we spent another 40 minutes getting individual pictures taken with Momoi. She was very accomodating to any type of photo a fan wanted to do, and posed in pretty much any position including mock strangling / slave-driving. Once everything was done, we escorted Momoi outside where she shook hands with everyone including non-fanclub members who didn't get to meet her at the dinner. By the end of the night I had lost track of how many times she had thanked fans. As a final send-off, the crowd brought out glowsticks and mass cheered her as she left for her limo, and didn't stop until she was well out of sight. It was a great feeling of unity even as we were creating a commotion at night in front of the hotel.

Oblivious to jet lag, I slept soundly that night fully satisfied with having been able to participate in this great event at Hawaii. Looking back, it may be the single best Momoi-related decision I ever made. It was an awesome experience, and I am glad to have shared it with the friendliest and most dedicated Momoists in the world. Now to do it all again in Canada!

Some other bonus pictures:


200 glowsticks that we brought for the concert. In all, fanclub members contributed for a total sum of over 800.



Special "Momoi edition" M&Ms.


500 flyers printed in NYC and shipped to Hawaii

Posted by Paranda at 7:58 AM | Comments (1)

April 23, 2008

ENJOY WITH MOMOI IN HF: Sunday (part 1)

Due to work, and also because I was contributing to a certain Momoi project, I was too busy to write anything. Finally I am going to finish this...

Sunday (early) morning, the fan club had plans to shoot a Romantic Summer video copying Seto no Hanayome's opening. Mandi and I arrived a bit late since we didn't get the details the previous night, but luckily Nyol called in to let us know the meeting place. As a huge HUGE surprise not previously disclosed, Momoi was also there and planned to be in the video.


Fans set up a ton of cameras on tripod, and we chose a little spot in the middle of the beach where we would do Romantic Summer otagei. Thanks to some generous fans who wanted to let Americans in front, I got shuffled up right next to Momoi. However, since I had only practiced Romantic Summer otagei two or three times ever (and there is currently no good reference of the motions on DVD), I didn't know 40% of the moves. The remaining 60% that I barely remembered was also promptly forgotten due to the mindbending effects of being within the Momoi sphere of influence. I felt a little guilty about wasting such a good position (since then, I have practiced it dozens of times and now can confidently say that I know it 100%). Luckily for me, once the music started, Momoi herself didn't remember the moves and just began cracking up while attempting to improvise. This lead everyone to abandon whatever routine they had memorized and just follow Momoi's lead. It was a little chaotic, with plenty of hilarious screw ups all of which were caught on camera. Some time in the middle of this, people in the water saw this whole spectacle and also started following along with motions, not knowing what it was for. It was a little chaotic but also amazing. The whole thing lasted maybe a few minutes, but it was a memory for a lifetime.


After our "performance", we toasted on the beach and just hung out for a little while. Momoi decided to eat her breakfast there and had some orange juice and a cinnamon bun. She also bought some beach shoes and jokingly said she was going to change into her swimsuit and go into the water. This turned out to not be a joke after all, as she ended up revealing a cute two piece much to the surprise of everyone. Since it was Hawaii, "it was natural to go swimming" she later said at an event in Japan when recalling the event. So we ended up having the privilege of going swimming with Momoi. We also took a bunch of pictures together on the beach to commemorate the time on the beach. After this Momoi left to go prepare for her concert, leaving us to roam as we pleased.

This was such an insane turn of events, my brain pretty much shut off and I can't remember anything else after (my order of events was probably wrong too). All I know was that when everything was over, it was already noon. I left with Nyol, mandi, Priz, and PantsGoblin to try some puka dog at Priz's suggestion. It was basically a huge roasted hot dog stuffed into an interestingly heated bun, but it was pretty good. Determined to be ready for the afternoon's concert, I asked Nyol to be my otagei teacher. And so, I learned the finer points of various movements during our lunch break. Having finally seen "Thundersnake" demonstrated fully, I knew I had to learn it.

After lunch, we spent some time going over DVDs in Nyol's room and practicing for calls until it was time to head to the convention center. I came armed with my newly signed power glove. Coverman also gave everyone a very cool sticky version of the flyers. I put one on my shirt.



For this concert, Momoi put on her classic sailor outfit. Delightfully, the exhibit hall was much more packed than the previous days and we managed to give out a lot more stuff to the crowd. There were also many kids who were totally enthusiastic about participating, which was nice. The songs played were:

Wonder momoi
21st Century
Romantic Summer
Figure ni Naritai
Naito de naito
LOVE.EXE
Yume no Baton

The concert went very well the second time, with much more participation and we had to hand out spare glowsticks midconcert as more and more people came up to the front.

Then it happened. During LOVE.EXE, suddenly Momoi called out to "come join me on stage." WHAT? This was completely surreal. Seconds later, we immediately peeled off from the front line and scrambled on one by one, preparing to do otagei on the same stage as our idol. Some people who learned about Momoi the same day even joined in. Many new Momoists were created in those moments. It was the first, and probably last time something like this would ever happen, and as the reality soaked in it was just complete euphoria while on that little platform. Momoi seemed to be immersed in it as well, as she threw herself into the center of the crowd on stage that was furiously waving "kecha" motions. In synchronized action, the cult of Momoi was kowtowing to its empress. We remained on stage for the rest of the concert, performing otagei with Momoi for Yume no baton as well as joining her for final stage photos.

Honolulu Festival Report

Posted by Paranda at 1:01 AM | Comments (2)

April 17, 2008

Momoi at AnimeNorth

Momoi announced she would be doing a con in Canada when she was in Hawaii. It finally became official.

Momoi announced as guest at AnimeNorth.

The biography page is surprisingly well informed, which leads me to believe either Right Gauge provided a very detailed resource sheet, or the author is a big Momoi fan who has read or at least skimmed Akihabalove in order to get certain details. Didn't catch the "Suicide Girls" slip though until it was pointed out by denpanosekai.

As a former Canadian citizen, I will of course be attending. Road trip to Toronto!!

If you are planning to go and would like to meet up with us friendly Momoists to do cool stuff (and learn otagei), please introduce yourself on the Momoi fan forums.

Posted by Paranda at 9:17 AM | Comments (0)

March 29, 2008

ENJOY WITH MOMOI IN HF: Saturday (part 2)

We had lunch at Teddy's Bigger Burgers. Suisei was especially enamored with the idea of eating the biggest burger on the menu, and kept repeating "MONSTER DOUBLE BURGER" in anticipation while waiting on line. He ended up getting the 18 ounce beast of a burger along with the combo drink and fries. I had the 9 ounce version of the burger, and which already seemed incredibly large to me. Somehow he managed to finish the whole thing and still be alive, probably because of all the exercise from doing otagei. I almost regret not being more adventurous and trying the same, but that is on my list for next year when Momoi comes to Hawaii again. I did have a delicious peanut butter shake though, that was so thick it was almost solid. While we were eating, the fan who cosplayed Jenny at the dinner on Friday came over to our table and brought out several Momoi pinky figures that he had made. Some pieces were very impressive given the level of detail, especially on the miniature keytars.

After lunch, the group split up with about half going swimming and the other half wanting to visit the anime and comic shops in town. Since I had gotten a lot of swimming done on Friday, I decided to go with the shop crew. Tenton and catsspat headed for the beach with one group of fans, while pantsgoblin, priz, mandi, and I went with the other. Mandi's friend, Candace, lived in the area so she kindly acted as tour guide for everyone. We moved in packs between the various stores including Mecha Hawaii and Toys n Joys, flash-mobbing the shop owners. Each visit was a scene in itself, with some 10-15 japanese guys rushing in, taking a ton of photos (espcially of the Momoi flyers that were pasted in any windows or stacked on the counters...they were very popular with the fans), buying lots of things, and leaving just as quickly as they went in. Thankfully Candace knew all of the owners and explained the situation to them pretty well. Since I now had a huge empty case that I used to transport 200 glowsticks and candies here, I figured I might as well use something to fill it up on the way back to NYC, so I got roughly $250 worth of figures that I had been putting off, but nothing too special to mention by name.

Once shopping was all done and we were heading back, some fans spotted a playground that they said looked similar to the one on Momoi's "Yume no baton" single cover so we all walked over there for pictures. Each person got a chance to copy Momoi's pose, and at the end we all posed for a big group picture on the construct. It was a sight to see: consider a large group of strange otaku carrying bags and bags of anime goods loitering near a playground. Good thing it was a Saturday and school was out. After posing, we hung around the curb across the street waiting for taxi pickup. There happened to be a store called Tamura's there. As expected, there is quite a bit of overlap between Momoists and Yukarifans so of course several fans had to comment on the name and take pictures of the store sign. I felt pretty vindicated for not being the only person who thought of that upon first glance. You can't get this kind of seiyuu geek company in the northeast.

After a few minutes of waiting, several cabs pulled up and we filled them in groups of 4 or 5 at a time. English speakers all shared a cab last in order to give directions to the drivers, though asopaso also came with us due to room constraints. The driver turned out to be some crazy guy who kept insisting on finding out where everybody lived, probably to distract us from the fact that he was taking the long way back to the hotel. He then started singing Sinatra's "New York New York", apparently prompted by learning that's where I was from. I figured this was going to be a quick joke, but he just kept going and going, belting out the whole song in its entirety. He also tried to make us guess the names and singers for what I assumed were contemporary American songs, but we didn't know any of them.

We finally returned to Pacific Beach, much later than everyone else, after the driver "mistakenly" brought us to the wrong hotel. Most cab drivers probably would have stopped the meter though, if they realized they went the wrong way, which is why I suspect his motiviations. Back in our rooms, Yuiichi came over to show us one of the custom photobooks he ordered back when the Momoi photobook promotion was going on:

For dinner, we regrouped to visit the only Anna Miller's restaurant outside of Japan. Somehow we managed to get seated for 17 people without prior reservations on a busy night, after only about 20 minutes of waiting. Yuuichi showed me an awesome Sunday Early Morning screensaver he put on his phone while in the lounge. The menu itself was pretty standard so I guess everyone just admires the uniforms. I had the French dip and tried one of their coconut custard pies which was pretty good. It was fun though, so time flew by pretty fast. Dinner lasted pretty late, all the way until at maybe 11PM or so. After a taxi ride back, I can't really remember what happened but I think I just went to sleep right away because I was so tired and we still had to get up tomorrow for the concert.

Sunday was definitely the most exciting out of all the days though, so I am looking forward to writing the report :)

Posted by Paranda at 2:41 AM | Comments (5)

March 25, 2008

ENJOY WITH MOMOI IN HF: Saturday (part 1)

Although there was a six hour time difference between New York and Hawaii, by Saturday I had been here for two days so I was finally beginning to adjust (waking up at 6AM as opposed to 3AM). I had breakfast at a normal time, which consisted of various teas and juices that I purchased for taste tests, and spam musubi, supposedly a local favorite. The rest of the morning was mostly spent rehearsing calls listed in the callbook for Momoi's concert. PantsGoblin has transcribed parts of the call book in his LJ post if you want to read those translations. At 10:30, we headed out for the venue, Hawaii Convention Center, to make our preparations.

The traffic was pretty slow, but we arrived on time and met up with the other fans in front of the exhibition hall, aptly named "Kamehameha I" (which became the butt of several obvious jokes). We waited near the street until Momoi arrived in her limo. She arrived in a brand new stage dress, with a traditional japanese top, poofy pink tutu, and white leggings that went down over her shoes.

After a brief welcome, we headed into the exhibition hall. A small booth had been set up for us to put our bags, so we set everything down and began sorting out the call books and glowsticks. Some fans even "suited up" with the equipment they pulled out from their bags. There were Momoi shirts, overcoats, power gloves, towels, stacked wristbands, stickers, both current Momoi and UNDER17 legacy merchandise, and one fan, Suisei, even had a glowstick bandolier and MOMO-I (in katakana) shaved into the back of his head.

While waiting in near the stage, one of the Japanese fans that I hadn't seen the night before asked if I was paranda. I talked a bit with him and found out he was Momoi news god, asopaso.com so we ended up taking a picture together as bloggers from the US and Japan. Apparently he wasn't able to make it for the first day so he and two other fans took a later flight over to see Momoi. I also asked him a bit about Thundershot since I kept hearing the term a lot, and he said it was a brand new otagei moveset named after the song. This helped me realize there was still a lot for me to learn regarding live concerts, and factored heavily into my later attempts to get another particular fan to teach me. Soon after this, the concert countdown began and we started hurrying around the floor to distribute glowsticks and callbooks. Unfortunately, the crowd wasn't very large, but there was enough for a good concert. Though most of the people there were fairly old tourists with probably no prior knowledge of Momoi, they were enthusiastic about trying out the waves and chants. We ended up giving away all of our books and most of the glowsticks.

I left my camera in my bag during this time as I fully intended to devote my full attention to the concert in person, and not to through a viewfinder. So, I am sad to say I have no pictures of my own of the concert, but luckily there is no shortage of footage from other attendees, and plenty of videos on Youtube.

The show began quickly. After announcing "Aloha Hawaii! Music start," Momoi jumped straight into the first song, GURA GURA. The last time I did GURA GURA was probably in January when the AX DVD came out so I was caught off guard just a little although now that I think about it, I probably should have expected that song to be played. I was much more prepared this time in general though, as I had gotten a lot more practice with calls since last summer. One thing I hadn't discovered until then about the power glove though: it is NOT a comfortable apparatus to be wearing or holding glowsticks with for an extended period of time.

Once the music started, every care melted away. Although we were only a small group of 20 something people lined up in the front rows, and there were many empty seats behind us, the excitement I felt was the same as it was at AX when the venue was packed. Doing calls at a live Momoi show is a fantastic experience that simply cannot be described accurately via a blog. A kind of herd mentality takes over, where you pretty much lose track of everything else and focus solely in having the best concert possible for yourself and for others around you. The familiar music, a single focused point of admiration for the singer on stage, and the interactive nature of the calls all work together to help the individual achieve perfect synergy within a hive mind of Momoists. I suppose many new fans are born during her live shows because this kind of feeling could permeate them so thoroughly, and the great thing about all the fans is that they are so eager to make sure that feeling spreads to everyone, regardless of whether you have been a hardcore fan for ten years, or you just came to see "hmm who is this Momoi person?" In fact, probably one of the best parts about the unconventional (non-otaku) audience at the Honolulu Festival was seeing all the little kids or 60 year old couples wave their glowsticks and get into the whole movement. This was incredible from our point of view. Momoi made sure to give special attention to children, often stopping directly in front of them and giving them a big smile and wave, or singing to them for extended times.

The full list of songs performed were:
GURA GURA
Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie
Tondol Baby
Ai no medicine
Kujibiki Unbalance
Romantic Summer
LOVE.EXE

Between each song, Momoi would take time to do quick MCs aided by a translator, either talking about herself, or explaining to the audience about the fans glowstick distribution in the front and inviting everybody to join in at any time. Indeed, we had a nice reserve stash of glowsticks set up just in case anybody new suddenly felt like coming (there were plenty of opportunities to distribute these as well). She thanked her fans several times in these MCs, which made all of us feel very good. I suppose Momoi's fan-praise rhetoric is somewhat of a self fulfilling, because the more she does it, the more pumped everybody is about making sure all the good things Momoi says about her fans are true. That's some solid basics of business leadership right there.

Overall, the concert went very well. Momoi revealed later that she was feeling a little sick that day and had to extend the MCs to give her a little breathing time, but during the show, she definitely hid it well and did not let it affect her performance. Many new fans of all ages were created in that small but amazing window of time.


After the last song, we headed back to the booths to retrieve our things. The concert was short but very intense and everyone was exhausted. Much thanks goes to catsspat and tenton for thinking of bringing water to everybody. While we were resting, a Momoi merchandise table was set up near the exhibit hall entrance. Momoi was also there to meet all the fans and give autographs. There, she posed for several more pictures, and it was great seeing Momoi using one of our flyers for some of her PR shots. I also felt happy seeing so many people (who had ostensibly never known of Momoi before) line up to buy her T-shirts, CDs, and DVDs. Just from listening to some conversations, most people were really impressed with the whole thing. Of course, I also saw some people wearing AX t-shirts too so it looks like there are still more Momoists out there who came all the way from the mainland that we have yet to meet. One of the things that really stood out to me was that the Japanese fans who already had multiple autographs didn't get on line until the very end in order to ensure that any new fans would have a chance to get their own things signed. It really resonated with me then that these people are really serious about making sure Momoi can be appreciated by everyone, and it remains yet another positive lesson I take home from all of this.

As for my own stuff, I came back to the hotel that day with a second copy of Sunday Early Morning to support Momoi (and so I could use some of the stickers without feeling bad) plus a signed power glove. Momoi seemed very amused at seeing the original American version of the powerglove without the PAX logo. Mandi managed to get a picture of her reaction during the signing...

Following the concert and autograph session, we all waved to Momoi as she left the building. There was a great feeling of accomplishment, and an even better feeling that tomorrow...it would all happen again! For the time being, we then turned our attention to another pending and more immediate event: lunch.

Posted by Paranda at 2:18 AM | Comments (1)

March 19, 2008

ENJOY WITH MOMOI IN HF: Friday

I am now back in NYC after a thoroughly awesome trip. Sorry for the limited details while I was there, I was just too excited I couldn't write anything. Now that I am back, I will try and spend this weekend combing my brain to get the details out..

And yes, if you have read InsaneLampshade's Connichi report in Germany, it is completely true that Momoi's hand is the softest substance known in this universe, possibly deserving of scientific scrutiny. If you could hold a cloud, that is what it would be like. Queen of Akihbara indeed!

Contact with Tanaka from JTB (who was incredibly nice by the way) was made around 9AM. He provided Mandi and me with the pamphlets, badge, and maps that we would need for the following couple of days. He also mentioned that Momoi had already arrived and was hard at work practicing for the event tomorrow, but that the fans would show up later this afternoon. After that we couldn't concentrate on doing anything except anticipating everyone's arrival so we just wasted time at the beach. I bought my swim trunks the same day since it somehow never occurred to me to pack swim gear back in NYC. For lunch, we had curry udon since it is one of Momoi's favorite foods.

We met up with everyone else around 3PM in the Pacific Beach Hotel lobby. The fan club from Japan had just arrived and rested. While hanging around, we also got a chance to sign a special card that odessa brought for Takayama Saki, who played Momoi in the Haruko Update drama. After introductions, we went swimming at the beach to pass time until the main event: a welcome dinner at Beijing with Momoi. At around 6 PM, Momoi came in and waved to everyone. So many cameras went off at once I was almost blinded. Half the tour group even brought tripods to set up in the room and everyone had those handheld video recorders. She sat at our table with her manager Suzuki and an assistant manager whose name I forgot (even though he poured tea for me lol). She ordered a Blue Hawaii drink, so we basically followed her example. Another whole table of fans also cracked ultra-orange cyalume and put them in their beers. There was a big toast with Momoi thanking everyone for coming to Hawaii.

The dishes were: seafood soup, spring rolls, cashew chicken, BBQ pork and beef, fried rice with shrimp, and finally coconut gelatin for dessert. Momoi ended up eating only a little though, as her primary concern was giving as much attention to her fans as possible. After she finished appetizers, 90% of the time she was posing, commenting on photos, and moving between the three tables to chat up fans about whatever topics they wanted. During the middle of the dinner, Mandi showed Momoi the special fliers that fans made for her so she gave us her thanks for helping get them printed and distributed.

Other things of note were conversations about itasha, the ubiquitous ABC stoes, the adventures of "Hawaii Jenny", and a certain fan's Jenny cosplay (he pretended to be Sakunyan during a fake interview with Momoi at the table). I also learned that the photos from Momo-i quality were apparently from Hawaii when she visited many many years ago, and fans were making plans to go to the exact same places to take some pictures.

Because of all this, the dinner lasted hours. Near the end of the evening, Momoi tried to eat some more food but it was cold by then so she skipped to dessert after a few bites. After dinner was over, we went outside the restaurant to take group photos. Tanaka helped take pictures with everyone's cameras. Momoi also got a picture with the hostess at the door.

After an elevator ride down to the street, we stood around the corner to just talk some more (after blocking the elevator entrance by accident). At some point, Vesper pulled out a sukumizu for Momoi to wear. Although she obviously wouldn't wear it, she put it over herself in a mock pose. She also wrote on the front "Year 3, class 14, Momoi." and signed her name on the little tag inside. All this time, fans were going crazy with flash photos. However 20 people standing in a semi circle constantly taking pictures of a girl in the middle is a sight that attracts the curious, so our crowd ended up growing as passing tourists looked on in confusion. Some people asked for a photo with Momoi even though they weren't sure who she was, but the hype was just too strong for them to resist. Finally near 9:30PM, it was time to go. Momoi crossed the street while we (now including interested bystanders) all waved to her from the corner.

After this, we dispersed and began to prepare for the following day's concert.

Posted by Paranda at 12:43 AM | Comments (4)

March 15, 2008

Well...

Had a good 2 concerts. Everything went well. Sorry for any confusion.

Posted by Paranda at 3:30 AM | Comments (4)

March 13, 2008

Hawaii trip start

Haven't posted anything in forever due to work, but at last I am taking a vacation to see Momoi in Hawaii. Will update when something interesting happens.

Sitting in the airport now...

Also, this year's seiyuu awards were crap and any ceremony which considers HIrano Aya as the TOP female seiyuu in a lead role of 2008 has zero credibility to award anything to anyone ever again. This, and awarding best singers to multiple recipients for LS. WHAT? My head hurts.

But I will forget about that now and just think about this weekend :)

Posted by Paranda at 4:53 AM | Comments (4)

February 17, 2008

Hawaii event times posted

Honolulu Festival has dedicated an entire page to Momoi's upcoming performance this March. It looks like she is going to get a bit more special treatment than I had previously thought. There will be two half-hour sessions in the Hawaii Convention Center on 3/15 and 3/16. Holding it indoors is good news for cyalume plans.

http://www.honolulufestival.com/eng/momoi.php

Very strangely however, they referred to her main fan base as otaku, and worse, translated "アニメおたく" as "anime-obsessed males". The english version of the article seems to emphasize the gender aspect way too much. That just sounds so unflattering for something supposed to be a fluff piece. Momoi's content is enjoyed by everyone, and that article is framing it in a poor context. Also, parts of it appear to be copied word for word from Wikipedia.

Posted by Paranda at 3:56 AM | Comments (1)

February 3, 2008

Sunday Early Morning

Notice: from now until the markets become a little more calm (HAHAHAHAHA), Momoi updates will probably only happen on Sundays (conveniently fitting the post title) because work is taking up literally 100% of my waking time during the weekday. And probably taking away sleep time as well.

So now, here's an update: A few weeks ago, Momoi hinted on her blog that the Sunday Early Morning PV may be uploaded to a video site. On Monday, Avex followed up by releasing the Sunday Early Morning PV to Nico Video. It is possibly the best Momoi PV ever made.

The singing is supposedly entirely in English, but I can't tell what is being said. The song was written and composed by Momoi, and arranged by MISSILE CHEWBACCA.

Watch it:
http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/ax2160014

Updated with brain hotel's YT link:
http://jp.youtube.com/watch?v=Gu8CFNETKHw

Shakugan no Shana (see Nico version for awesome subtitles)

Posted by Paranda at 2:28 PM | Comments (11)

January 25, 2008

m.m.m. exchange rate reminder

When I posted the fanclub guide in early November last year, the exchange rate was 114. It's now hovering around 106, the lowest it has been since 2005. This means R-G will probably get 102 or 103. Heads up for anyone planning on joining the Momoi fanclub, sending $60 will NO LONGER cover your entrance fees. Try to send around $65.

Posted by Paranda at 8:50 AM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2008

Sunday early morning and BEST CLIP

Avex has posted more details on Momoi's upcoming album and video collection. The new album, Sunday Early Morning, will be released March 5th for 3360 yen with the following tracks:

  1. Sunday early morning
  2. Romantic summer
  3. Good morning!
  4. Enter!
  5. Party!
  6. Lumica
  7. 21 Seiki
  8. High Energy
  9. RADIO DAYS RADIO NIGHTS
  10. Naito de naito
  11. Ima anata ga suki
  12. Thunder Shot!
  13. Get Wild (cover)

Some of the tracks have been widely released before through Avex singles, but a good portion of them are either from special releases like Naito de naito or the Toranoana CDs, or entirely new. The album is also notable for being the first original Momoi album to date that is not branded as a "Best of" collection. On the video side, Momoi's BEST CLIP DVD will be released on the same day. First pressing will receive a 16 page booklet. The following music is featured on the disc:

  1. Sunday early morning (new)
  2. Saigo no Rock
  3. Yume no baton
  4. 21 Seiki
  5. Lumica
  6. Chuo Line
  7. Romantic Summer (live clip)
  8. LOVE.EXE (see Momo-i quality LIVE IN Stellar Ball, disc 1 at 1:00:55 if you don't remember what this is)

The collection also includes promotional bits, mostly video from Toranoana shop windows, TV spots, Making of, and so on. A bonus for German Momoi fans is the inclusion of a behinds the scenes video from Connichi 2007.

  1. Lumica (store promo)
  2. High Energy (store promo)
  3. Cover Densha (making of)
  4. Chuo Line (making of)
  5. Sunday early morning (making of)
  6. momo-i quality (TV spot)
  7. Cover Densha (TV spot)
  8. 21 Seiki (TV spot)
  9. Lumica (TV spot)
  10. Connichi2007 (off shot)

Momoi will be heavily promoting these releases through several mini-lives and events scheduled in March (with one break in between to go to Hawaii). If you are in Japan that month, you could probably attend them. See the avex event page for more details.

Posted by Paranda at 10:48 AM | Comments (3)

January 19, 2008

Right Gauge has a Momoi page

http://rg-music.com/momoi/

Right Gauge launched Momoi's site earlier this week. There are some good pictures, a schedule, and m.m.m. info. There is also a handy RSS link that you can use so you don't miss any posts.

Posted by Paranda at 1:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 6, 2008

AX DVD arrived

Much thanks to the incredibly generous guy at Web-Rider who volunteered to get the DVDs for some fans. Since he picked up everything straight from Comiket, the package included some VERY SPECIAL BONUS items...notably, an autographed DVD cover and an autographed photo!

Since I am a bit short on time, I skimmed over it once so far, but I will be watching it over more carefully for the next few days. It's very interesting though, as the entire thing is shot "documentary style" with the concerts and events all blended together in chronological order rather than separating the DVD into "concert" and "extras" sections. If you ever watched those I'VE videos that follow the crew around while they shoot a video in the US but also go to restaurants and tour famous places, it's kind of like that.

Posted by Paranda at 3:27 PM | Comments (5)

January 4, 2008

Momoi Calendar 2008

12 reasons to join m.m.m. by 2009 if you haven't already.

Right Gauge sent out Momoi's annual photo calendar to fanclub members as a New Year's gift. Package was sent on New Year's Day according to the postmark. Thanks RG!!

Unless foreign memberships get special treatment for air mail, some poor guy seems to have hand addressed envelopes for over a thousand members.

Included are 12 photos and a New Year's message from Momoi.

And my own favorite picture from the set... HEIL SISTER B!

Posted by Paranda at 5:46 PM | Comments (4)

December 22, 2007

Vote for Momoi in the Seiyuu Awards

Momoi has made the nominees list for three categories for this year's seiyuu awards, so please help her win at least one! If you aren't sure how to vote, you can follow the very helpful instructions posted by j1m0ne.

The three categories that Momoi are eligible for are Best Lead Actress, Best Singer, Best Personality.

Incidentally, according to Yui-nyan, who was also nominated for the song category and was very surprised about it, Momoi suggested they both attend a recent Prism Ark event in goth loli. Yui had to buy some clothes since she didn't have any. Momoi seems to be getting into the whole fashion, since she was also wearing something like that on her nico videos. The hat makes yet another appearance. Pictures at Yui's blog.

Posted by Paranda at 5:21 PM | Comments (2)

December 12, 2007

Happy Early B-day to Momoi

Posting now because on the 14th I will probably be dead or dying from the piled up work to do before year-end. Momoi turns 30 in 1.5 days!

Also Animelo 2007 was amazing. 1. Ushiroyuubi duet with Momoi and Minami. 2. Momoi belts out a solo segment and also does drumrolls for Arika during Outride. 3. JAM PROJECT + truckloads of pyro. Everyone did a fantastic job. Buy if you haven't already.

Felt bad for Minorin though, who had such good performances but messed up at the end of her segment for Generation-A both times. Maybe she was nervous or hurt her voice earlier somehow.

Lastly for today, the first wave of Kawaii JeNny dolls became available for preorder a few hours earlier, and did not sell out yet. If we assume demand will be around the same for future releases, I guess the chances of getting a Sister B just might be realistic in January. Then again, there are 3 dolls this time and may have divided up the number of crazy people. Will post a reminder in January if I live.

Posted by Paranda at 7:11 AM | Comments (1)

December 5, 2007

Sister B dolls to be sold in limited quantities

Momoi fans may be pleased to know that Licca Castle will be selling 1000 Sister B dolls, available for pre-order on January 15th. 20 buyers will also receive a Kawaii JeNny DVD vol. 2 as a gift. Orders are 6000 yen each. Although Licca does not accept sales from foreigners directly, doll collecting is very popular so there are many online companies that you can ask to pre-order for you, assuming the dolls do not sell out instantly. The "Sweets Angels" dolls will also be available on 12/12 if you want those too.

Posted by Paranda at 2:23 PM | Comments (0)

November 30, 2007

Momoi Hawaii Tour now officially open to public

Momoi has posted the tour details and sign up link on her blog. She has stated that non-fanclub members are able to sign up for the tour. However, fanclub members will get a planned exclusive dinner with her.

The applicaiton deadline in 12/29. The trip is quite expensive, but hey you get to spend 5 days with Momoi!

Posted by Paranda at 5:22 PM | Comments (3)

November 30, 2007

Momoi + Nogawa JeNny cosplay

You can't have a doll show without cosplay can you? Momoi and Sakunyan pose as their respective characters in Kawaii! JeNny.

Features Momoi socking a dude in the face.
http://www.famitsu.com/anime/news/1212045_1558.html

Posted by Paranda at 1:02 PM | Comments (2)

November 21, 2007

Cyalume Rememberance Day

According to her blog, Momoi said November 20th is like her own personal "Cyalume Rememberance Day" as a tribute to the almighty glow stick. Unfortunately, that happens to be yesterday, but I was swamped with work so this is a late post. Well...you should go watch some Momoi DVDs and practice your waving anyway. Consider it a warm-up holiday before you jump into Thanksgiving!

Momoi attended Mizuno Aoi's birthday concert on this day in 1994 and credits this event with converting her into a frequent concert goer. She specifically remembers getting a glow stick from another fan and seeing the crowd energy being transmitted through its faint blue light. 10 years later, 11/20/2004 marked the final performance of her own band, UNDER17, where she basked in orange brilliance during Motto Yume Miyou. She says 2007 is a good year as well, with many fond glow stick memories thanks to everyone.

A fan also pointed out in the comments that the Wonder Momo-i Live Tour was also recorded on 11/20/2005. You know, I never realized Momoi may have been purposely scheduling a lot of her major live shows for this day until now.

Posted by Paranda at 1:28 PM | Comments (2)

November 18, 2007

m.m.m. membership card

Came today. Handwritten name and number confirmed :)
Card front
Card back

Posted by Paranda at 12:57 PM | Comments (4)

November 14, 2007

High Energy & Lumica out today

My orders shipped out Monday night and will probably be in by the end of the week. From the looks of it, promotional posters are included with preorders again, so I will post them when I get it. It's always nice of Neowing to include bonus incentives like that even though it significantly increases the cost of their shipping overseas (they use the huge box and still charge me the same rate per disc).

Luckily I don't have to wait until Friday for the PV, as some kind soul has already uploaded it here

Posted by Paranda at 6:17 PM | Comments (5)

November 9, 2007

Momoi is coming to Honolulu

Well looks like Momoi's next US tour date came sooner than anyone could imagine. m.m.m. sent out a notice yesterday offering a travel package to fan club members for Momoi's upcoming appearance in Hawaii!

Momoi will be attending the Honolulu Festival from March 14th to March 16th and will be holding a performance on the 15th. Hawaii is a great vacation destination in itself already, so this event is a perfect boost for Momoists to start planning their calendars. This time it is quite convenient for me too, so I will consider the trip seriously.

Interestingly, Hawaii is the only state in the United States with a majority Asian population, and is known for its very large percentage of Japanese.

Posted by Paranda at 1:21 PM | Comments (3)

November 5, 2007

Paranda's guide to joining m.m.m. for American fans

For those interested in joining Momoi's official fan club m.m.m., there's some good news from Right Gauge: membership is open to all countries, as long as you can find a way to send them the payment! After several clarification emails and weeks of nail-biting, I have at last managed to completely test out the enrollment process from the US. Hopefully, this guide can help you secure your membership in m.m.m. as well with as little hassle as possible.

In case you don't remember what the fan club perks are, feel free to review this post from last year. There are also members from other countries who are testing out their own methods of joining, which you can read about on the unofficial International Halko Momoi Fanboard. Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Right Gauge in any way; I am not responsible for your money. Send at your own risk!

  1. (IMPORTANT). If you have read similar instructions to use a bank wire transfer and swift codes and whatever, this is no longer recommended unless you want to pay triple the membership amount thanks to banks taking their cut in various fees. See Mr. Trainspotting horror story.

  2. Draft up an email to "info@right-gauge.jp" with the subject: "桃井はるこファンクラブ送金完了" Make sure that the subject is exact. If you just see a bunch of squares or question marks, then your computer needs to have Japanese fonts installed.

    Put the following in the body and fill in the info as requested. Omit the parentheses. It is a good idea to include "USA" in your address to reduce possible confusion as I know a lot of people (including myself) never use it when sending domestic mail.

    お名前:(your name here)
    郵便番号: (Your zip code here)
    住所:(Your address here)
    連絡先メールアドレス:(your e-mail address here)

    Save it in your drafts folder for now, but DO NOT SEND IT. Also print out a copy.

  3. Bring the paper copy of your email and an envelope with you to your local USPS office (Not FedEx, UPS, or other mail services).

  4. Buy an international direct money order to Japan for 6500 yen. This covers both the initiation and annual fees, but it is slightly higher due to international processing and what not. Note that USPS only accepts money orders to Japan in USD so you will have to convert to dollars. Right Gauge says that their asking amount is $55.40. However, this is only based on the spot exchange rate they quoted at the time of my inquiry. Personally, I suggest paying $60 (or more, if the dollar plummets) so they have a little headroom and don't get screwed by changing FX rates. If you still aren't sure, email them and ask how much they would like in dollars. Right Gauge is one of the few small offices that is even willing to take that kind of exposure and deal with foreigner fan club membership at all so please don't leave a bad impression and ruin it for the people after you who might want to join. You will have to pay an additional $3.85 money order fee so the total cost should be $63.85

    Fill in the following address for your money order:

    1-38-7-306, Akatsutsumi,
    Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan
    ZIP code:156-0044
    Right Gauge Co.,Ltd.

    Make sure you also fill in your own address in the "From" field so they know who you are. Obviously, make sure the address and name you fill in match the ones you have in your email. Money orders are protected from loss/theft if you fill in the "To" and "From" fields and don't do something dumb like pay to Cash.

  5. Put your money order in the envelope with the paper copy of your email and send it to the above address via First Class International Mail for 90 cents (allow 2 - 8 weeks delivery. Mine was processed after 18 days). Make sure you also buy "delivery confirmation" just so you can track your mail online (tracking the money order itself is much harder since you must do it in person at the post office, fill in a form 6401, and also pay $3 each time). If you don't want to wait and have some spare money, you can also send it using one of the recommended express mail services which offer tracking. Priority airmail for a 1 ounce letter is something like 11 bucks.

  6. Wait a few weeks (or days if you used express mail) and check on your letter status occasionally. Once it has been delivered, now you can send the email that you saved in your draft in step 2. Right Gauge might also contact you first since you included your contact info with your money order. If Right Gauge replies and has no idea what you are talking about, wait a few days in case they haven't got around to cashing your money order and send the email again.

  7. After about another week, you will receive your membership number via email along with the expiration date. There will be an undetermined amount of time to wait for the card itself. However, during this waiting period you can verify that your name is spelled correctly, or elect to change it.

  8. If everything goes smoothly, you will receive your membership card in the post after a while. Congratulations you are an offical m.m.m member! Now just remember to send 3000 yen every year before expiration to keep your membership status active.

  9. Share this info with any of your friends who also want to join!

Posted by Paranda at 10:19 AM | Comments (6)

November 3, 2007

Yuen no Amulet and R.G.B. arrive in mail

Along with a very nice surprise poster.
amuletposter.jpg

The PV is awesome in DVD format, and I love the song. R.G.B. will take a little more getting used to.

Posted by Paranda at 4:42 PM | Comments (2)

November 1, 2007

AX concert gets DVD release

Second most exciting news ever (the first would be Momoi's AX appearance announcement):
"Momo-i! World Tour 2007 in L.A." DVD!

The Toranoana exclusive release is due 1/1/2008, and will include a mix of both concert footage and off-stage documentary.

The DVD will also include a specially made booklet and photos of Toranoana in-store events. A must have for all fans, plus there is a very high chance you will see yourself if you were at AX! Add another reason to celebrate the New Year!

axmomoi_concert.jpg

I am on stage left in the picture :3

Posted by Paranda at 11:39 PM | Comments (1)

October 31, 2007

Momoi's Ho-me-pa-ge gets new look for Rumika promotion

Avex has given Momoi's site yet another makeover today, with a sparkly (literally) new Flash page featuring Rumika along with a preview of the music video. Rumika is looking to be pretty good so far and the whole video has a very early 90s feel to it. This is the same video where she had a slight injury while filming, but we will probably not be able to spot anything due to the boots. The site now also contains a long overdue full discography catalog for all of her Avex releases, though it obviously does not reference any momo-i stuff from Five Records.

Momoi Haruko no Ho-me-pa-ge

Posted by Paranda at 9:13 PM | Comments (1)

October 29, 2007

Pam vol. 89

Last week's issue of Pam is now up on Avex's site. Two full pages show photos used on the covers for Momoi's upcoming Rumika single (regular edition) and High Energy with Nogawa Sakura. The infamous Chuo Line will at last be released on CD.

http://www.avexmovie.jp/pam/comic.php?vol=089
rumika.jpg

Posted by Paranda at 7:47 PM | Comments (3)

October 24, 2007

Back to back Momoi releases this week

I just got my shipping notices and will have both CDs by the end of the week. Covers for Yuen no Amulet and R.G.B. available are on Plug, along with the upcoming Rumika and High Energy singles. Check out Youtube for the PV for Amulet.

Posted by Paranda at 6:46 PM | Comments (0)

October 4, 2007

Sister B

Omaetachi!!! *shakes fist*
sisterb.jpg

Evil roles suit Momoi best.

Posted by Paranda at 11:01 PM | Comments (5)

September 28, 2007

Momoi HaruKO?

Spotted by asopaso:

Mistake, or yet another name? Either way it's new to me. When can we write it 晴子?

Posted by Paranda at 6:59 PM | Comments (3)

September 28, 2007

Momoi injures leg in PV shoot

While shooting the PV for her next single, Momoi fell from the stage and injured her leg. She received stitches for the first time in her life. And yet she's still not even taking that much time off still and is still zipping from one event to the next. Don't work too hard Momoi! Health comes first! Please recover soon.

In other news, San Seto obliterates competition in Saimoe. Defeating a heavy hitter like Souseiseki is truly something. Go go Momoi seiyuu magnum opus!

Posted by Paranda at 4:46 PM | Comments (2)

September 13, 2007

No Subject

It took me all summer, but I am almost finished...

A Momoi surprise will be posted some time next week :)

Posted by Paranda at 10:47 PM | Comments (12)

September 11, 2007

Oh my god

Why did I not go?

Posted by Paranda at 12:42 AM | Comments (3)

September 7, 2007

Momoi Blogwatch for Connichi 2007 now underway.

Momoi's blog opens up with "Guten Aben." The first day has gone smoothly it appears, and she has already attended the opening ceremonies, an autograph session, and a cosplay event. She was particularly impressed by the scenery on the streets, and of the convention center itself and mentioned both of these on her blog. Momoi also says she will do her best at the live tomorrow.

Let's hope it is a great experience. Cheer hard German fans!

--------------------------

UPDATE 9/8
New post from Momoi only hours before the big show.

Ever closer to the live

"I recieved a lot of support from everyone in Germany at the autograph session. There were visitors from so many nationalities. Thank you for the writings and presents! Messages came from the Momoists of Japan, Hong Kong, Mexico, America, Australia, UK, Bolivia, Austria, and others. Thank you! Right now, I am reading them all in my hotel room...

And here again thank you. Tonight let's have a blast."

--------------------------

UPDATE 9/8

Live Big Success!

"Uuuuu. I am so moved. The fan club from Japan came to help lead, distribute call books, and glow sticks. The German people seemed to have a really fun time. I think that my feelings were surely transmitted to them. In music and wota, there are no national boundaries! I was so nervous and the outpouring of messages of support and presents strengthened my heart.

Hearing the cries of 'Encore' in German within this vast arena, of all voices focusing on a single person like myself, I felt true bliss.

But, we can't wrap up yet! I have been meeting to prepare for tomorrow's autograph session, and the mini-live before the closing ceremonies. I will definitely need to rest up!

I will send my heart to the fans and everyone in Connichi, and surely return to Japan with a glorious smile on my face. I am waiting to hear the good news reports ok?

Please excuse me if I've caused any tension!"

Posted by Paranda at 11:20 PM | Comments (3)

September 5, 2007

Disk Daisuki is no more

As of 8/30, Momoi's new blog is at http://ameblo.jp/momoi-ktkr/. DD now redirects there automatically. According to Momoi's recent post, no archives were kept, so if you used an RSS reader that downloaded the old entries to a local drive, treasure them (archive.org only goes back to May)! Also, the post explained that the momoi-ktkr URL was because the momoi and momo-i account names were already taken.

Posted by Paranda at 8:38 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2007

Blast from the past

Two neat (and old) things came in the mail today.

1. A much prized figure, Komugi 2.0! I have been looking for this ever since it came out.
komugi2.jpg

2. ASCII Motto Otanoshimi CD-ROM vol. 9, dated April 1998. This CD is the source of the GURA GURA video that we all know and love, and also contains the first chapter of a series of very interesting articles written by Momoi detailing the history of Moai Halko, who was apparently created by a mad old scientist who cloned Momoi's DNA stolen from hair she left on her hairbrush in the dressing room of Loft Plus One. In hopes of stealthily replacing Momoi with her clone, the scientist disguised himself as a friendly otaku and abducted Momoi as she was looking for a changing room to cosplay during Summer Comiket 1996. Of course, trapped in the basement lab, Momoi heroically rescues her clone from her test tube, clothes her with the sailor costume she was planning to use as cosplay, and manages to escape back into the Comiket crowd. Now free, and face to face with the clone, Momoi decides to give her a name and her own identity. And thus, Moai was born.

Now I really want to track down the rest of this..
asciicd.jpg
asciicd2.jpg

Posted by Paranda at 11:38 AM | Comments (6)

August 30, 2007

Reminder: Last day for message to Momoi!

The official deadline is 8/31, but remember that could be adjusted forward due to Japan's timezones, so best get your letters in to coverman ASAP.

As for me, I was just up all night writing the mushiest most fanboyish letter I have ever written in my entire life. This thing had more hyperbole and metaphorical allusions to greatness and pseudo-epiphanies than all of the mandatory "self discovery" essays I wrote in college combined. In the end I had to edit out a whole bunch of stuff and downplay the Momoi praise so it wouldn't look as dishonestly sycophantic (even though I meant all of it). Talk about a dilemma.

Posted by Paranda at 4:47 AM | Comments (4)

August 24, 2007

Prism Ark Intro/Outro Single

Momoi's newest work is up for preorder at CDJapan.

Game Prism Ark Intro Theme: Uen no Amulet / TV Anime Prism Ark Outro Theme: Opera Fantasia [w/ DVD, Limited Edition] / momo-I

Limited edition will include a PV. First press gets a poster :)

Posted by Paranda at 9:27 AM | Comments (0)

August 18, 2007

Message to Momoi in Germany

Due to mass work caused by ye olde liquidity crunch I have pretty much had no time to check things online, but recently coverman aka. Jime has made a generous offer to take any additional messages you may have for Momoi and has asked many Momoists to spread the word, so I guess I'll do my part: Feel free to email or comment and I will pass it on along with my own message :)

"To all fans of Momoi Haruko:

In preparation for the live event in Germany this September, Momoists in Japan would like to gather messages from Momoi Haruko’s fans outside of Japan.

If you would like to write Momoi a short message, please send your messages to me. I will compile them all and forward them to the Japanese fans that will be going to Germany. These messages will be given directly to her during her tour there. In writing your messages please also include your name. If you cannot write in Japanese do not worry you may also write your message in English.

If you have any friends who are also fans of Momoi Haruko, please let them know as well. We would love to have them also send her their messages.

The deadline for submitting your messages is August 31, 2007.

Thank you for your support."

Posted by Paranda at 1:04 AM | Comments (5)

July 29, 2007

Anime Expo 2007 Momo-i's Petit America Travel Log

Momoi posted a more detailed account of her AX trip yesterday containing pictures and commentary. She also wrote more thanks to everyone yet again, mirroring much of what she said in her recent statement to J-ENT. She also put quite a heavy emphasis on complimenting the staff, no doubt to clear up any remaining resentment or misconceptions anybody may have still had. It definitely does seem that AX bent over backwards due to the drama that the DD blog created, and they went so far as to bring in a concert set for her, so good on them.

Here is a my quick translation of the contents from Plug Entertainment. Please let me know if I got anything blatantly wrong, as I tend to suck at this.

Original entry: http://news.plug-etm.com/?eid=670777

Disclaimer: This is not an official translation, I do not represent Plug or Momoi in any way, shape, or form. Contents can not be construed as accurate. Images copyright to their original owners. Blah blah blah...
--------

Anime Expo 2007 Momo-i's Petit America Travel Log

Long Beach, California had wonderful weather.
I was so happy to meet the staff, who worked so hard to make such a big event a success, and the super fantastic wotaku fans at "Anime Expo."
I and everyone in Japan, having transmitted our feelings to other places outside of Japan, and communicated through this experience, were very impressed. I really am so glad that I met you all.
Thank you for coming to 6/29th's secret mini-live, and the 30th's focus panel.
At the 7/2 live, the passionate cheering made me so happy. Everybody was so excited and made it so fun!
Those who supported me from Japan, those who handed out call books, those who came to the concert and taught the Japanese fans' way of glowstick cheering to the American fans, thank you.
Everyone on staff was very respectful towards me, all the fans there were nice, and so I was able to put my heart into singing.
Jumping excitedly, everybody gradually became as one. I thought, "Where is this? America!? Japan!? No, this is MOMOI'S LIVE!" Before anyone knew it, the barriers had disappeared. Like an AT field.
I love things like anime and games so it was great to do such activities, as I genuinely met everyone's beautiful smiles.
In a completely different country, though the lifestyle is usually different, I was strangely glad.

For producers and consumers, having direct mutual discussions with each other is very significant, and I think it is a wonderful thing.
Everyone at Anime Expo staff, I want to express my gratitude once again for giving me such a great place!

And to fans who waited in line for me, truly, thank you very much. From here on in Japan, I will continue to do my best! I hope we can meet again.

Thank you!

Momoi Haruko.


At the opening ceremony. The loud cheers made me happy.


At the concert hall. It's so big. Everyone who came, thank you!


Combat Momo-i at Hollywood


Hollywood, and the power glove. A bunch of people called me "Robot Girl."


Famous Hamburger.


At the guitar center. Though I didn't buy anything, Manzo was made to buy an avant garde colored Base by Momo-i (laughs).


Me at July 2nd closing live. I think this Yukata-Dress is very japanese, and goes well together with a Live DVD.


I was glad that the lighting was set perfectly. Behind me there was a Cafe set. Thanks.


It was packed. Several thousand fans had come. The cheering was amazing for me (cry)...uuuuuu.


In the midst of passionate singing! I wanted to sing an extra song, so I went nonstop!


The excitement built steadily to an amazing rush!


Manzo came too. Everybody knew "My Pace Daioh" and chanted "Oi Oi Oi". It was really exciting.


Ball autographs. Momo-i shows off her strong throwing arm. Watch out major league!!


The last bow... Tears. For the encore I sang Yume no Baton accompanied by Manzo's guitar. The last phrase is truly how I still feel.


In the waiting room on the last day at AX. The staff gave me such a beautiful bouquet of flowers as a present! I was so moved...The T-shirt I am wearing was made for me by a fan there.


The notebook where everyone left messages for me. Thank you!! It's my treasure.

Posted by Paranda at 3:56 PM | Comments (10)

July 29, 2007

Momoi sings Uninstall.

Well not really. Rather, a fan with a WONDERFUL imitation of Momoi's voice sang "Uninstall". Yet more talent inspired by Momoism.

Check it out at Nico: http://www.nicovideo.jp/watch/sm656228

It's very cute.

Posted by Paranda at 3:24 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2007

Should have paid the extra $10 and shipped EMS

Looks like I am not going to be posting about the Lovely Idol concert DVD this weekend after all, as I stupidly forgot I had chosen SLOW SHIPPING on the order I combined it with. It just went out this morning, so it will probably take another two weeks.

Posted by Paranda at 3:12 PM | Comments (0)

July 5, 2007

Momoi Expo, part 2

After the panel, and a quick side-trip to see Chiaki's concert, we headed back to the hotel. Once back, we decided to check out Momoi's blog to see if she would explain the cancellation situation further. Seeing her entry really pissed off everyone, and we each took turns writing our consolation comments. We also decided that it was necessary to take some extra steps to prepare for the next concert in order to make up for everything. Momoi had mentioned she would love to see glow sticks while answering a question at the panel, so the rest of the night was dedicated to what Chibitech calls the the great "Glowstick Adventures," where we drove around Long Beach hitting up Walmarts, dollar stores, supermarkets, and even got into the dance events to look for glowsticks to hand out at the concert. However, after several hours, we only managed to find something like 20 or so. Things didn't seem too good at the time.

On monday though, we happily discovered that we were not the only ones who had realized to bring extra glow sticks. Many other fans had also brought similar amounts to distribute, and the Japanese fan club was well prepared with a huge bag of around 200 or so, which they gladly shared with us. After we arrived, they decided to start a glowstick practice session near the front of the line, and we passed the time cheering together with the fan club. It got very embarassing after some staff members gathered around to watch, and another dude started taping us without asking, but I was also happy that we, and others watching, could learn the moves properly (the call book could be very confusing at times). It also felt rewarding after one of the volunteers got very interested in Momoi due to the demonstration. Around 10:00AM, Momoi's autograph book was passed around again so we all signed the thing a second time.

Once the doors opened, we began distributing call books and glow sticks to everyone again. Although everyone around us pooled their glowsticks together, we still ran out in less than 20 minutes, and more than half the audience were still missing them. Additionally, the crowd was kind of small and a lot of people didn't seem that pumped. Luckily, shortly after we ran out, AX staff suddenly rolled in a cart with boxes and boxes of glowsticks. Although they were selling them, AX must have been in a pretty apologetic mood after Momoi's tirade, so the people were actually very nice and the prices were actually fair (4 for $1, an entire bag for $10). As people gathered around to get glow sticks, one of the Japanese fans, WEB-RIDER, started a chain reaction by rushing up and buying like eight full boxes and handing them to us to help distribute, which then prompted most of the first and second rows to start buying up eveything. Seeing this mad dash for glowsticks did generate some enthusiasm from people though, and from what I've heard, even AX staff got bitten by the generosity bug and started giving them away to anyone who came in later once the show started.

Momoi appeared on stage in her modified tropical kimono-skirt thing and thanked everyone for coming. In an incredible display of stamina, she performed songs from nearly every point in her career in rapid succession, starting with GURA GURA, moving on to UNDER17 and Komugi material (never underestimate the rush from hearing several thousand people screaming "Fever! Fever!" and pumping their fists), post-UNDER17 stuff like Love.exe Hide and Seek, Wonder Momoi, and Tondol Baby, and special pieces like Akihabalove and Romantic Summer from Seto no Hanayome (the only thing I really wanted to hear that she didn't sing was Motto Yume Miyou). As soon as the music started, the fans in front began leading the glowstick movements, with several jumping into the aisles to direct everyone. Momoi pulled off a flawless performance as well. This time, the sound was perfect, and she had plenty of room to jump around and lead many of the motions herself. Occasionally, she would also break a glowstick and launch it into the audience to rile them up even more. I was obviously pretty occupied/entranced during all of this, but every time I did turn around (like during the spinning jumps), I saw nearly 100% crowd participation. Whenever she turned the mic on us, the chants were deafening. Most of the audience knew all the words and could sing along, and those that didn't did a pretty good job of improvising on the spot so at least they seemed like they knew the words. During the small talks in between, there was also no shortage of very loud "MOMOI KAWAII" screams from various locations in the crowd (I did contribute mine as well, and got waved at!). Looking back at both the songs and the talks, these components added up to create the most electric atmosphere I had seen out of all the AX events so far.

Some time in the middle of the show, Manzo also showed up again to do Nihon Break Kogyo and My Pace Daioh while Momoi caught her breath. I'm glad the audience gave him a much better welcome this time around. I don't think a lot of people really started getting into it until they realized he was the guy who did the Genshiken theme (he probably should have did that song first for the recognition factor).

When the show ended, the fans started begain chanting MOMOI and ENCORE. I think the Japanese fans tried to start a different chant like the ones in the DVD, but they gave way to the American fans since ENCORE was just much easier to say and the huge energy just drowned them out. It was essentially the same in spirit anyway. After a few minutes, Momoi came back on stage and performed Saigo no Rock, a.k.a. "The Last Rock." After this, Momoi asked everyone to come close to the stage and take a picture with her. This time, security much more understanding, and so we managed to squeeze together VERY close to the front (right up to the rail). She then threw out autographed balls into the audience as presents. One was thrown directly toward us, but it bounced off the rail and the guard picked it up and threw it in a completely opposite direction (argh!). She then gave her final talk, but started crying before she could finish. She said that she was so happy to see all of us, that she was really glad about all the glowsticks, and that she would definitely come back to visit us again. With the crowd completely out of their rows and gathered at the front, she sang Yume no Baton" way up close without any music track, and visibly in tears. After she left the stage, the Momoi calls continued for minutes.

Only after Momoi left did I notice the extreme fatigue in my arms and back. We had been jumping and waving nonstop for almost 90 minutes, and no matter where I looked, there wasn't a single person whose t-shirt wasn't completely drenched. I was still slightly dazed by what had just transpired. As we walked out, we saw a very long line forming at the merchandise booth outside and felt very satisfied in knowing that after this concert, Momoi had just gained a huge number of new fans who probably originally showed up just because "they were giving out free tickets." Additionally, those of us who already were fans had just accomplished something we had always wanted to be a part of ever since watching our first Momoi DVD. Before leaving the arena altogether, we decided to take one big picture with all the hardcore Momoists to commemorate the coming together of fans from around the world.

Posted by Paranda at 6:23 PM | Comments (3)

July 5, 2007

Momoi Expo, part 1

It has been over 3 days since the last Momoi concert has been over, and the residual effects have not worn off, but I figured this would be the time to write out the full trip report before I start forgetting things.

Our group, which I will affectionately call the Unofficial American Momoi cheering squad, consisted of myself and Mandichan from the east coast, Kouotsu all the way from Tennessee, and Chibitech from the California Bay area. In Momoi headbands and tour shirts, our basic objectives simply revolved around the goal of welcoming Momoi with our hearts: attend all Momoi events and cheer like hell, help the Japanese fan club hand out call books and explain them to new fans, and support any other Momoists who also wanted to show their love to Momoi.

Friday was a bad start for us, since we missed the opening ceremonies due to a 4 hour wait in line, and then an additional 3 hour wait in the premiere ticket line. Pretty much the whole day was spent in line and the only relevant news we managed to pick up was that Momoi would be a guest judge at AX Idol.

On Saturday, things began to pick up. We received word from one of the Japanese fanclub members that in addition to being a guest judge, Momoi was having a concert after the AX Idol event (6/30), which confirmed a previous report in m.m.m. that Momoi was going to do two concerts. We arrived at AX Idol and tried to get as close as possible in middle section, although we were somewhere around row 18 due to a wild goose chase at the "Meet The Guests" reception which prevented us from camping even earlier. We did manage to find the official Japanese fan club group that had followed Momoi overseas while waiting for AX Idol to start though (a meetup and plan to help distribute the call books had previously been arranged by mandichan on mixi). There, we experienced first-hand, the massive generosity and awesomeness of Momoi's fans when one of the fan club members and main editor of the call book produced a huge gift basket for us containing a mountain of Momoi CDs and DVDs. Some items I can recall in there were Cover Train limited edition, Momoi Quality limited edition, 21st Century limited edition, Haruko UP DATE Best CD, Haruko UP DATE DVD box set, Shibuya-O-East/Stellar shirt and DVD box set, Saigo no Rock and Yume no Baton limited edition Toranoana version, LOVE.EXE, Shokuzai no Rhapsody, a Komugi drama CD, and various other discs. We split it between the four of us and now I can proudly say I have filled up several gaps in my collection (I am especially happy about having the Toranoana slipcase).

After almost more than an hour of delay, the event finally started, When Momoi appeared on stage in her grunge-schoolgirl uniform and power glove, the front rows on the left and right sections, having been camped by the those Japanese fans, exploded into cheering while we tried to hold up our section. From then on, nearly every time Momoi gave any comment, a massive round of cheering from those areas erupted, and it surprised even her interpretor, who didn't quite understand how Momoi fans operated. During the judging of the ten finalists, Momoi gave ONLY positive criticism (as we all knew she would), and most of her remarks included some trivia about Japan's entertainment industry for the audience's enjoyment. After finding out some of the contestants could understand rudimentary Japanese, she markedly changed her entire style of speech to be much much slower and easier to understand, presumably so the contestants could receive and understand her praise directly rather than have it filtered through a translator (da..to..omoimashitaaa...) Being the lovable oddball that Momoi is, another interesting thing that she did was whip out her own marker/glowstick during all of the musical acts and cheer on the contestants from behind her table.

Because the event ran way overtime, after the winners were announced and everyone left the stage, Momoi immediately started the performance with almost no preparation. There was still a lot of space in the front so Momoi had called out to everyone to stand up and come closer. We rushed up through the rows as far as we could before security blocked us off. Despite our attempts to explain the situation, they did not budge on our request, so a significant section of of the very front rows remained empty. They didn't clear the stage or reseat anyone - it was almost as if Momoi was relegated to a mere continuation, a closing act, of AX Idol rather than someone with her own individual event. I was really annoyed by this, and even more annoyed by the fact that a lot of people in the crowd were still sitting down, but soon forgot myself as Momoi began singing. Surprisingly, she kicked off her concert with Komugi songs (Shooting Star, Ai no Medisun) and then the very classic TENBATSU ANGEL RABBIE! Man, I was so happy...I never thought I'd have to chance to hear those live after UNDER17 disbanded! In a mad rush for time, Momoi jammed through song after song with huge amounts of energy. She ran across the stage and even jumped up on the table. The only break she took was when Manzo (another awesome surprise) suddenly showed up in his construction gear and guitar. Unfortunately, we hadn't realized to bring glow sticks, a mistake we tried to make up for ten-fold at the later concert. Although the sound feeds were unsynchronized, I had personally had a great time. I am only sad that these technical problems prevented it from being even better

On Sunday, we lined up around 8:30AM for the Momoi panel, although PantsGoblin was nice enough to save a spot for us much earlier. We met up with the fan club and started helping them distribute the call books. After handing out a few books and talking with some of the people waiting on line, it soon became clear that last night's concert was almost entirely unadvertised as many people didn't even realize know about it, which slightly messed things up since we had hoped we could explain "CALL" by using last night's example from the Japanese fans. Apparently, news of the 6/30 concert and her appearance at AX Idol was officially mentioned only once, and only by Momoi herself during the opening ceremonies (which a ton of people missed anyway because they were in line for badges). A lot of fans were upset, though the worst was still to come. In a small act of redemption, AX (or possibly Avex) was at least smart enough to set up a small table outside the room selling CDs, DVDs, and T-shirts so fans could get tour shirts to wear for the panel (I got two of them, one for that day, and one for the concert).

When 10AM rolled around, Momoi showed up in her own concert shirt and Momoi wrist band. She started things off by apologizing for the lateness of the previous day's concert and began taking questions. As you now know, during that panel, Momoi made an announcement that she very unhappy with the way things played out so far and cancelled all events for the day to ensure the 7/2 concert would go as planned. Thankfully, everyone was considerate enough not to complain and still clapped and cheered the entire time. I can happily say that everyone in my group did get a chance to ask a question to Momoi. As a veteran radio host, Momoi pulled some slick professional bantering with each question, regardless of its simplicity or length, and would go on for minutes to answer things. Various interesting things happened in there: One fan had brought in pink flowers. When asked for her favorite "moe" characteristic, Momoi suddenly stood up on her chair and revealed "zettai ryouiki" (I would have gotten a picture of this but was in line and stupidly left my camera on my chair). Chibitech was able to ask Momoi for a collaboration project on her next Famison album and ended up singing along to a song with her. I found out that she based her schoolgirl outfit on Nanako SOS (the original Moai outfit is almost an exact copy), and that that she would love to do cosplay with Nogawa Sakura (please do! Nogawa is so talented as well). And finally, we listened to her say "TAISAN," "Luke-sama," and my personal favorite, "BUU~BUU~!"

Once time was up, everyone came up to the stage to give her gifts (Mandichan managed to give her two custom Momoi T-shirts, that she WORE the next day). When Priz, the original American Momoi fan (though his website is now down), came up to her, Momoi even reached out and shook his hand and announced to everyone "This person has been my fan for over ten years." As the gifts continued flowing in, she began to cry and thanked everyone profusely. An autograph notebook was left outside the panel so everyone could leave messages for her (while waiting in line for the autograph book, I was very happy to meet the legendary American seiyuu otaku catsspat who was standing right behind us - further validating Momoism especially if he of all people would choose to skip the SOS signing for Momoi).

Part 2 coming as I'm writing it...

Posted by Paranda at 2:32 AM | Comments (6)

July 2, 2007

MOMOI 7/2 CONCERT

I think it went down very nicely. This was the most energetic concert out of all performances at AX, with a fan reaction even bigger than SKIN in my opinion. Props to the Japanese fan club for bringing in a big ass basket of bright pink glowsticks, and Yazaki-san (who I will soon friend on Mixi) for buying a ton of glowstick packs after AX tried to sell them, and all the American fans who didn't show a moment's hesitation in buying more glowsticks just to give away, effectively making the glow sticks "free" for everyone else. For example, oblacxz (I think), a guy sitting next to me who bought a bunch with his friend and threw them to the crowds, and actually helped me out in a pinch during concert after my first set of sticks died out. I think all of your efforts helped excite even the non-Momoists who just showed up out of curiosity, and quickly turned them into raving fans soon after they realized how damn fun these concerts are, and definitely played a part in affecting the way things eventually turned out. I was so impressed by the selflessness of so many people who were just completely focused on making Momoi happy. This is what fandom is about!

If you are one of these people I definitely hope you publicize your efforts and make sure everone knows that Momoi has the hardest fans out of any idol, because she is the fucking Queen and this title cannot be disputed.

And so...Momoi cried again. According to her blog, she loved it. I liked how she basically had maybe 2 or 3 rows of real fans in the beginning, and all of us were so nervous that Momoi would be disappointed in us for the low turnout, yet by the end the place was packed and pretty much everyone turned into a Momoist. There was much shouting and glowstick waving, and at the end, I was so happy to see that autograph line stretched very far when walking out.

No pics of this particular concert will be posted since I did not bring a camera, but if our picture shows up on Momoi's site any time soon, I will repost that.

Details of the concert itself will be updated later. I just wanted to provide a quick update in case anyone was worried about today.

And thanks to anyone who wasn't too shy to join us in our "practice cheering" today while on line.

Edit 2: Heading out to the Closing Ceremony to cheer Momoi one last time. I want even the most seasoned event planners who think they know "extreme fandom" to look at Momoi fans and think..."What the fuck? These people are crazy." Because only Momoi is good enough to get that kind of fanaticism.

Edit 3: Just returned from closing ceremony. Another successful round of cheering Momoi was had. In a totally unexpected turn of events, Momoi was wearing Mandichan's special t-shirt that she gave her at the panel and got called out with personal recognition. It was an intensely cool moment. After that we pretty much went crazy cheering. And while we recorded her, she recorded us! Honestly there has been a lot of recording all around, so it will be weird to see what will eventually wind up on the net. There might even be a shot of the US fans in a DVD extra (Oh how I hope).

Posted by Paranda at 7:39 PM | Comments (29)

July 2, 2007

Mission to make Momoi cry

Remember this post?

Well, it looks like at least we did our part. Good job North American fans. Thanks to all the fans die-hard enough to wait with our group so early in the morning...we thought we would be the only ones! To anyone who was there, you may have seen us, as we were helping the Japanese fan club hand out a big stack of Momoi concert "call" pamphlets (while wearing Momoi t-shirts and Momoi headbands). At the panel, I think it was a good show of love for Momoi. I'm really happy nobody complained about the cancelled autographs thing, and still cheered as hard as they could. She seemed to be really moved at the end when the gift-giving started, and it was excellent. I was kind of afraid that the SOS signing event might have eaten a lot of her crowd, but the turnout was pretty good and I love that all the fans were crazy about her. "Pinnacle of my life" guy...perfect line. Perfect reaction. BUT...there is much more left to be done, and here's why:

A lot of people are pretty curious about the sudden "serious speech" Momoi gave in the middle of the panel regarding a contract dispute and why she canceled all of her appearances afterwards, and almost canceled the 7/2 concert. Well apparently, while her fans were great to her, AX in general was a very different story. Momoi was treated pretty badly and she is quite upset with AX's handling of her own, and other guests' events, as shown by a recent update on her blog. Although the details are unclear, it seems that she was not treated with any respect at all.

I am not sure what exactly broke the straw on the camels back, but its no surprise Momoi is dissatisfied. Apparently there were fuckups starting all the way from getting her hotel room ready, to cutting off her music, to constant reschedulings and lateness, and overall mishandling.

Although too engrossed in my euphoria at the time, looking back, the first concert was indeed severely mishandled. First of all, they started the whole event late and made Momoi wait forever in order for Bang Zoom to plug some shitty ads that everyone had already seen from the SOS concert. Second, at the Momoi concert (as well as the SOS one before it), the entire audio was out of synch, much to the horror of her staff who watched on helplessly. And third, after Momoi specfically invited everyone to "come up!! come on up!" (i.e. to the front of the stage), security, apparently unable to understand a damn word, blocked everyone off and forced us back to the seats section. Momoi saw this happen, and decided to try AGAIN by motioning all the fans to come forward and yelling (in English by the way) to come up. Yet again, security blocked anyone from trying to advance despite the huge amount of free space being wasted up front. The fans weren't allowed to go wild. Not allowed...at a Momoi concert? That's ridiculous!

Momoi's panel explanation for the autograph cancellation was basically that she would be working hard to communicate her exact wishes to the event handlers so the next concert would not have so many problems. Momoi was angry, not only that she was thrown aside, that her co-workers and friends in the industry were thrown aside (she said some were crying, but didn't name any names), but also angry from the fact that her American fans that she flew over specifically to perform for, were the ones who didn't get the performance she planned. In this, I believe she was totally right to cancel her events and work exclusively on setting up for the next performance. It's her last chance before heading back to Japan, so of course IT HAS TO BE DONE RIGHT. Tell me, oh true Momoi fan, do you really want some autograph you can buy off Yahoo Auctions, or do you want a PERFECT CONCERT!? The answer should be obvious.

Even just from my personal observation of the SOS events alone, this entire convention was badly managed. In those respectively, Minorin was absolutely humiliated at both the panel and concert and looked like she was going to cry. Gotou also seemed kind of pissed, although she was way too much of a veteran to show it as obviously. And Hirano...well as much as I hate Hirano, even she didn't deserve that tasteless joke about casting-favoritism, especially with the HUGE Arts Vision scandal going on that I'm pretty sure every seiyuu fan knows about (It's inexcusable that Bang Zoom, which glorifies itself as a major anime voice acting company of North America, would script in a joke like this without thinking of its connotations.) I will probably post a more detailed rant about how things happened, but for now I will work on posting more POSITIVE comments on how awesome Momoi was before I start bashing AX.

I'm glad that Momoi decided she would continue the concert for the fans despite the bad experience with AX, so, with that information...let's try extra hard tomorrow to make sure our positive impression is cemented into Momoi's mind and never let her feel any doubt for the North American fans' support her. As a group we need to make up for AX's shortcomings.

Note: If you can, please please please get glow sticks for the concert. I think it would make her very happy to see so many fans take her suggestion seriously and start waving the sticks and doing all the calls. If you absolutely can't find any, we have bought about 20 extra sticks and bracelets specifically for this event and are happy to give them away.

Also, even if you are angry about this, please refrain from displays of anger on her blog, and complain to AX instead. Some 4channer posted the "America is superior..blah blah blah...New York" comment on Momoi's blog. What the hell? I'm fucking from New York and probably the most annoyed by all of this, but that type of comment doesn't really reflect too well of us at all, and is not going to convince her to "Come to New York." It just makes us look bad.

Extra note: At the panel, Momoi apologized for starting late even though it wasn't her fault. I love Momoi.

Posted by Paranda at 4:03 AM | Comments (6)

July 1, 2007

MOMOI 6/30 CONCERT


Up until now, I had never woo'ed loudly in my life.

CONCERT 2 COMING....
JULY 2ND COME FASTER!!!

Will update in a while...after I'm calmed down. Suffering from *jump* "HEY!!!" and "E-KU-ZE" hand-symbols syndrome.

Posted by Paranda at 4:21 AM | Comments (3)

June 23, 2007

Momoi's Cover Train Arrived

Along with the rest of my "To get signed at AX stuff.."
Momoi cover album
Momoi's Cover Train album is actually quite awesome, and her singing style in this is very reminiscent of her old UNDER17 method, that is to say...a very moe sound. She is definitely hamming up a lot of the performances on purpose. In the few hours I've been listening to it, I can say I thoroughly enjoyed it more than the Famison disc, not to say that the Famison songs are bad, but that this cover album is just so damned good.

Momoi cover album
Momoi cover album
Momoi cover album
A spread from the comment booklet that comes with the first print edition.
Momoi cover album
Inside covers and CD

The Densha style cover is already awesome enough, but Cover Train...Cover Train is special, and officially contains the best liner notes in the history of Momoi CDs. Behold the many faces of Momoi:
Momoi cover album
Momoi cover album
Momoi cover album
Momoi cover album
Momoi cover album
Momoi cover album
DO I SPY UNDER17 GLASSES ON THE RIGHT?

She cosplayed everyone on the train. Every single one is Momoi!
Ahhhh...

Also included is a poster, which features same image as the slip case cover, but I did not take a picture of it because I have already stored it in my poster tube to bring to AX.

Posted by Paranda at 6:43 PM | Comments (2)

June 11, 2007

Video killed the radio star

Momoi's ~owah ohhh~ is the cutest thing ever. This surpasses even fuu~fuu~.

http://www.avexmovie.jp/lineup/momo-i/

Choose track 10.

SHE TRIES SO HARD!!

Posted by Paranda at 11:50 PM | Comments (4)

May 31, 2007

Momoi at AX07

News is now official.

If I wasn't still at work, I'd plaster a bunch of Momoi glamor images in this post, but I'll have to settle with a timid celebration at my desk until I go home.

I will be flying in from NYC on the 28th, though I may have to delay my return flight as it appears that the old concert info is no longer applicable. Site details reveal that only one concert has been scheduled for an unknown time on July 2nd, which is the day I go back.

Posted by Paranda at 8:05 PM | Comments (4)

May 21, 2007

Momoi thanks fans at Moefest 2007

A recent entry on Momoi's blog called attention to her special guest appearance at Moefest 2007 last week, where she performed six songs, and create an emotional scene where she reflected profoundly on how her joy of singing existed because of her audience. Clips of this incident have been made available at http://podtv.jp/podtv/PTVK/oa/1427.

Although Momoi frequently cries while giving speeches, it generally does not make each time feel any less sincere or heartwarming, as can be seen by the post-event reactions. Momoi's affinity towards her audience is well known, and the frequency of these scenes usually only serve as additional reinforcement of her wonderfully humble and grateful attitude. Momoi isn't afraid to people know how much she appreciates them, a fact that almost certainly is one of the reasons why Momoi has always been a very successful live performer regardless of her visibility in the industry elsewhere. She makes fans feel good about being fans. Rather, if Momoi DOESN'T cry at your concert, you've probably been a shitty crowd and need to cheer harder.

And that is why at AX, if we are to preserve the honor of North American fans, it is our duty to make Momoi cry.

Posted by Paranda at 10:50 PM | Comments (4)

May 7, 2007

MOMOI TO ATTEND ANIME EXPO 2007

RUMOR DEVELOPING!!! MORE INFO WILL BE POSTED AS I TRY TO CONFIRM THE SOURCE! THERE SEEMS TO BE A CONCERT PLANNED OH GOD ASDFADFSDF!

Update: rumor has been further substantiated. Apparently it came from an m.m.m mailing. Asopaso is a beautiful man for posting this news. Now we just have to wait for the AX website to announce it to be totally official.

More details: It seems like there will be two shows: one on June 30, one on July 1st.

It's already time to prepare my travel plans just in case. What say we have a collective meet-up and camp-out, fellow Momoists?

Posted by Paranda at 4:40 PM | Comments (5)

May 7, 2007

Oh shit! Tsukune-chan actually got fansubbed.

See title. Looks like someone over at Ureshii is a big enough Momoist to expend the effort and bring back a show from 2005..

Posted by Paranda at 3:59 PM | Comments (1)

April 19, 2007

Haruko Momoi to appear in Kassel, Germany

Momoi will apparently be visiting the Connichi festival in Kassel, Germany from September 7th to September 9th. Having just returned from Europe recently, I curse my terrible timing. Did North America miss its chance forever after the cancelled UNDER17 event?

update: Typo on "Kassel" fixed. Thanks Balduin.

Posted by Paranda at 3:25 PM | Comments (9)

March 9, 2007

Haruko Update part 2 came yesterday

Except I will be in Berlin for the week. Hopefully I'll get something written on the plane ride..or maybe not. Also, "Mail Me" PV <3. Wow, 10 years and she barely aged.

Update: March 11
Ah, Germany, home of the QWERTZ keyboard. All my honed typing instincts, ruined!

Posted by Paranda at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

March 5, 2007

Avex, making up for what Nakid couldn't

I should have posted this a month ago, but it only struck me recently just how active Avex has been with their marketing of Momoi. Aside from making professionally designed websites, pressuring Momoi to run a blog, numerous photo shoots, press packages, and setting up interviews, Avex has also helped set up Momoi with her first lead role in a publicly broadcast anime series ever. It always seemed strange to me that Momoi had a pretty significant base of fans and played many major supporting character roles, yet never got the lead role in anything except her own OVAs. In less than a month, that will change.

Seto no Hanayome

Her first serious lead role unshared with anyone else. Truly a milestone. Let's hope this show does well.

Posted by Paranda at 12:43 AM | Comments (0)

March 4, 2007

Famison site launched

New site was launched yesterday to promote Momoi's upcoming 8bit album. It contains a short preview of every track.
http://5pb.jp/famison/

Also congratulations to Koshimizu Ami and Gotou Yuuko for winning in best sub-character female category at the first Seiyuu Awards. I suspected Gotou Yuuko would get it, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Koshimizu up there also and agree very much with both choices. I'm also glad they chose a solid winner like Park Romi for best lead, instead of making themselves a joke and destroying all credibility if they had gone with a CERTAIN SOMEONE (although I have warmed up to Hirano considerably since Manabi Straight started running) as I initially feared. Good job seiyuu guys.

Posted by Paranda at 5:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2007

Haruko Update Review, part 1

It took a bit longer for me to get around to doing this as I was unexpectedly whisked away to another country on the other side of the world for about 10 days, but at last I have gotten around to uploading my review. For those who haven't had a chance to watch Haruko Update yet, I hope you find it informing.

Note: I get pretty long-winded in this, and there's 114 screenshots...a great product of jet lag.

For the past two weeks, Haruko Update part one has been immensely fun to watch through again and again. It provides a dramatized but informative look at the life of a younger Momoi.

Initially, I expected a documentary-style drama that dealt with various events in her early career, but the bulk of the story is much more focused on leaving an emotional impact on the viewer, and goes much farther back in history to accomplish this: in fact, three years prior to her first idol debut. Haruko Update shows a very different Momoi of the past, and basically explores the friendships, influences, and motivations that started her on the path to being an idol and transformed her to who she is today. To help facilitate the storytelling, Haruko Update splits the story into two timelines, one in the past and one in the present. Furthermore, the story splits Momoi into two incarnations, "Haruko" and "Momoi", representing her at the different stage of maturity, respectively one for each timeline. "Haruko" is the young 16 year old Momoi of the past, played by budding actress and model Takayama Saki. "Momoi" is the current Queen of Akihabara, played by Momoi herself.

In the "past" scenes, there is actually very little song and dance. True performances are, for the most part, set in the present and wisely consist of scenes performed only by the real Momoi at Stellar Ball 2006, since there is no way any fan would accept any substitute. The Stellar Ball concert serves as the current timeline while the past timeline is presented through a series of chronologically ordered flashbacks that play out at various cues. A common theme of these transitions back and forth between past and present seems to be emphasizing the differences of the two personalities. The current "Momoi" is powerful, confident, and seems larger than life. The younger "Haruko" is shy, weak, afraid, and also very geeky.

For example, the drama starts out with a tense "Momoi" backstage at Stellar Ball. As she puts on the last few accessories of her maid costume, she pauses in thought for a moment, and then sprints through the stage doors to meet the anxious crowd. The venue is packed with fans, and "Momoi" rushes in front of them jumping and kicking, already deep in her element of Moesong. Amongst the mass of screaming fans fiercely waving their glow-sticks, she looks like a Goddess of Rock on stage, in total control of what should seem like an unruly horde of dirty maniacs and sweaty nerds.

In the midst of this chaos, a flashback introduces "Haruko", the smiling high-school girl of the past. At first glance, she seems to be a very cheerful girl. It seems not surprising for Momoi, known to send a thousand otaku into euphoric shock simultaneously by uttering a single "mugi." Surely, she must spread happiness wherever she goes! Instead the viewer is abruptly introduced to a very different look at the Akihabara Queen. Starting off innocently enough, a smiling classmate hands Haruko a notebook, but in contrast to the admiration seen by the viewer just moments earlier, Haruko flips through the pages and is horrified to find death threats. She stops on a page where "Loser", "Trash", "Disappear", and a doodle of her being stabbed in the head are shown, with each contribution in different handwriting. Additionally, the snickering of her many classmates in the corner suggests that mocking Haruko was quite a popular class activity. Her independent personality is put in the spotlight during the next scene where she refuses to play a different song at the repeated insistence of her music teacher. These kinds of incidents further ostracize her from her peers. In an emotional scene portraying Haruko brilliantly, Takayama Saki slumps down alone on a gym floor and screams in sadness and frustration.

Of course, this jives well with her many hardcore fans, who were probably similarly picked on in school or outcasts for being as they were. As the Queen of Akihabara, Momoi leads her loyal subjects by example :). Momoi, in her many interviews and appearances, has always been portrayed as someone very sympathetic to her fans. Unlike some other seiyuu that have been scandalized for being less than welcoming around some more "maniacal" fans, Momoi has always been known to welcome her fans with open arms no matter how socially awkward they seemed (as parodied in Komugi). Apparently she was not very different from them. As a teen, she too was obsessed with an Akiba-idol, referred to in the film as "Ai-nyan" (in real life, Mizuno Aoi). In one of my favorite scenes in the drama, "Haruko" runs across a street to meet with her fellow Ai-nyan fans. She dramatically pulls her cardigan open to reveal a T-shirt with "Ai" on it. Her face is completely straight. The screen cuts to her three misfit friends doing the same thing. They proceed to do a "neko" dance together in complete seriousness. Their love for the idol surpasses all sense of public shame!

It turns out "Haruko" treats Ai like a savior. Although she was relentlessly teased in school, her love for the idol helped her get through with a little bit of happiness each day. While her classmates were nonchalantly giggling at hot guy magazines, she would sneak peeks at the idol magazines stashed in her desk like contraband. It was also through Ai-nyan that she met her only friends, like the three Ai-nyan nerds, and eventually "Akio" (voiced by Haruko Momoi), who she started corresponding with through email regularly. When the two first met through Ai-nyan's BBS, Akio incorrectly assumed "Haruko" was a male, since "Ai-nyan was a female idol." Not wanting to scare her new friend away, Haruko went along with this assumption and identified herself as "Haruo." Akio becomes pretty significant later on in the story.

The rest of the drama shows Haruko's days at school or at Ai-nyan concerts, and subsequently her at-home conversations with Akio. Soon Haruko was pouring her heart out to the stranger on a daily basis. She continued to be harassed during school without saying anything, but at home she vented about her thoughts to Akio. Akio was a good listener, and always tried to counsel her on the various issues she was facing. After one particularly bad incident at school, Akio told Haruko that she should stop feeling bad about herself. She was herself by her own choice, and therefore she should accept that with pride and stand up to her bullies. Thanks to Akio's email, she did, her bullies backed down, and her life changed.

Akio also expressed his own feelings and dreams. He said he loved dancing more than anything and was coming to Tokyo to train and become a dancer. Owing Akio her new life having moved past her bullies, Haruko was determined to meet him, although very nervous. To make a good first impression on Akio, and also to offset the earlier lie about her being a guy, Haruko dressed up for the meeting in the frilliest pink outfit she could find. Strangely, at the meeting place Akio was nowhere to be seen. Just as she had given up hope, it started raining. Soon all the dancers left except for one. Who loved dancing so much no rain could stop him? Akio. As it turns out, Akio was just like Momoi, merely pretending to be a guy. Her real name was Aki. In a great scene, Haruko chases the startled Aki around with an umbrella. As soon as they identify each other, Haruko starts crying, but Aki grabs Haruko's cheeks suddenly and forces her to smile, and both of them start hugging and laughing. Haruko had met her first real friend.

Back in the present timeline, Momoi finishes up her concert with a song while in a beautiful green dress and an awesome hat resembling a dessert dish. In the back of the audience, a person is watching quietly. It is none other than Aki. Implying that they have not seen each other for many years, the DVD ends on a cliffhanger just as these two are about to meet again.

My overall reactions to Haruko Update are extremely positive. The plot is thin and simple, but interesting all the same as it reveals the humble back story of Akiba's moesong legend. The flashbacks, taking place in the last decade, are also peppered with references to old technology, like when Netscape Mail was still widely used (Momoi used to have a Netscape parody logo on her site called Moaiscape) or clunky old computers. I also enjoyed the concert scenes, which only make me more excited for the official Stellar Ball concert DVD release next month. The casting has been great. Haruko comes off as an extremely likeable character, and there is someone who deserves an immense amount of praise here for this. That someone is Takayama Saki. As most people have probably noticed, I don't exactly give unbiased commentary when it comes to Momoi. I'm basically a yes-man because I've praised pretty much everything that she has ever come out with. I would like to think I am brutally critical of Momoi imitators however, which is why I find it so particularly special that I actually LIKE Takayama Saki. She must have done something amazing. I've said it in my last post, but now I'm saying it again. I didn't think anyone could play Momoi so well. It's not just how much they look alike, Saki playing teen Momoi is almost as good as if the real Momoi played herself

The background music is a great blend of originals and orchestra versions of Momoi songs (which are included on the bonus CD). The production values and video quality is also fairly high, and there are many included extras like cast interviews, behind the scenes stuff, full commentary from Momoi, Saki, and others. My only complaint with Haruko Update is that it isn't long enough. I also do not agree with the timing decision of shoving a "cafe talk session" in the middle, which should have been moved to the "extras" section as to not disturb the pace of the story, since they will usually be skipped during rewatchings. I loved learning about the "real" Ai-nyan and seeing Momoi's real life nerd reunion, but it should have been a separate feature.

In any case, I am looking forward to seeing the next part of Haruko Update. It was released yesterday in Japan and I should be seeing it in about two weeks. Until then, I am working hard on doing the subtitles for this video, and listening to the great Haruko Update Songs Best album. The new GURA GURA rocks!

Screenshots:

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Posted by Paranda at 7:28 AM | Comments (5)

February 8, 2007

Let the celebrations begin

Haruko Update, A-part START!

Review and screencaps will be up in the next few days.
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Update: I just finished watching through it. The drama part of it is pretty short, about 30 minutes,..but the DVD is packed with a bunch of extras, making of, interviews, and commentary, plus there's a bonus "special CD" included. I haven't looked through the CD or listened to the commentary tracks yet, which I will be doing tomorrow. TFor now, let me just say that the most significant highlight of the DVD is that Takayama Saki performs Momoi to perfection. I had some doubts earlier because she didn't sound so good, but this drama is not about singing or voice acting. For those scenes, Momoi does it herself. Instead the drama is more about her growth as a person, and Saki captures the full range of emotions perfectly. Maybe it was great casting, or maybe it was great acting. Either way, while much of the acting had an amateurish feel to it, Saki alone seemed like a pro. She was completely convincing and often caused me to forget I was watching a drama and just accept that she WAS young Momoi.

Posted by Paranda at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

February 5, 2007

Momoi's Famisong 8-bit

It seems Momoi is making chiptunes! It covers a wide variety of classic anime theme songs, with many that she has already covered in a different form, but now in 8 bit. Momoi once again shows off her old school tastes as there is some seriously OLD stuff in here, including a Tezuka Osamu series from before she was born.

Famisong 8-bit
Quick and dirty translation:

Famous anisong x Momoi Haruko x Picopico sound = Ultimate 8 bit famisong!

Produced by the Moe song world's renowned and charismatic Shikura Chiyomaru, this album is a precise blend of Momoi, Famicon, and Anisong. In other words: your favorite anisongs meet 8-bit Momoism. Enjoy the nostalgia of the best anisong tracks from the golden age, as they are all revived in pico pico sound!

- The Moesong World's No. 1 Artist, Momoi Haruko all-anisong cover album!
- Arranged entirely in Famicon sound!
- Features classic anisongs from a time before artist licensing tie-ups.
- The first collaboration between two Moe gods, Momoi Haruko and Shikura Chiyomaru.
- All instrumental karaoke versions included!

Tracklist:
Touch - Touch
Haha wo tazunete Sanzen Ri - Sougen no Marco
Merumochan - Fushigi na Merumo
Dragon Ball - Romantic ageruyo
Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon - Moonlight densetsu
Chibi Marukochan - Yume Ippai
Urusei Yatsura - Lum no Love Song
Sasuga no Sarutobi - Koi no jumon wa suki tokimeki to kisu
Mahou no Tenshi Creamy Mami - Delicate ni sukishite
Kiteretsu Daihyakka - Hajimete no chu
Dr. Slump Ararechan - Are Are Ararechan
Kazoku Robinson Hyouryuuki Fushigi na Shima no Flone - Hadashi no flone
The Kabocha Wine - L wa Lovely
Idol wa Hakkenden - Kimi wa Hoe Hoe musume (bonus track)

Posted by Paranda at 2:39 PM | Comments (1)

February 3, 2007

I won

Dennou Shoujo Virtulianco for $73 after handling fees and shipping. Crescent just confirmed they received the package.

Much thanks to 8BB76E1 for the heads up.

Posted by Paranda at 2:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2007

Momoi web gets yet another redesign

But this time it's a nice fancy site:
http://www.avexmovie.jp/lineup/momo-i/index.html

Also launched for Haruko Update:
http://avexmovie.jp/lineup/halko-update/

I'm regretting slow shipping already :O
~~ARGH SHIP FASTER DAMMIT!!!~~

Posted by Paranda at 11:01 PM | Comments (2)

January 26, 2007

Haruko Update Part 1 Release!

At last, the day has come! Haruko Update, part 1, is now out. Heads up to anyone who didn't want to preorder - now you can buy it and possibly get a free Haruko Update poster. I shall update and post screencaps when my copy arrives! And I haven't forgotten about my plan either. Meanwhile, my eyes are peeled on the net for discussion and perhaps some heroic soul who will upload any clips.

Posted by Paranda at 3:54 AM | Comments (0)

January 17, 2007

Momoi auction madness

Two Momoi auctions that I have been watching for a while ended early this morning. Unfortunately I didn't end up getting either of them. The prices are..high..to say the least.

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$90 USD for an Esper Mami CD is pretty crazy.

Virtualianco is a bit more understandable, but I still wasn't expecting it to go over 10000.

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I would have bought the Virtualianco CD for its historic value but because of my incorrect expectation, I ended up a few yen short in my auction account and I couldn't transfer additional funds fast enough to steal the auction. This thing went for 6000 yen used only 2 years ago, and has done nothing but appreciate in value over time.

Oh well. I've put 20000 yen in my auction account. Next time I'll get it for sure!

One thing I am happy about though...I bought Ippozutsu! at retail back when it first came out. Recently I've been seeing it go for 5000+ yen regularly, with the latest at 8000 (although no bids yet). Another lesson in why it always pays to order limited edition stuff fast and early :)

Posted by Paranda at 12:12 PM | Comments (1)

January 13, 2007

HM3 Issue 42

January's issue 42 features Mizuki Nana yet again and the guys from Marginal Prince.
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They usually give you big posters too, like this fold-out Mizuki Nana poster.
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The pages are pretty thick they're bound more like a photobook than a magazine, so there is basically no way to scan these without ruining the spine. I care too much about my precious volumes to scan these myself, so I also simultaneously grab the online version whenever I get my physical one. This issue has a lot of good pictures, including two Momoi photos. I've posted six selected ones below. Click for large.

First off, Nonaka Ai, one out of a series of photographs.
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Next, Kanda Akemi. Kanda was interviewed for this month's Aice5 article where she talks about herself and opinions on all the other members of the troupe. She has a much longer history than I thought (FYI: Last month's interviewee was dear Chiaki).
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Momoi and Goto Yuko do a joint interview about their respective Lovedol characters, so here is one from them. Last month's Lovedol feature was Nogawa Sakura and Nakahara Mai (dream team <3).
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Goto also has an extra two pages dedicated to her new album so she gets another pic.
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Mizuki Nana, being on the cover has the most pictures in this issue, in addition to that rad poster.
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I also included an image of Shintani. I'm not a really big fan of her but I know pantsgoblinx is so he might like this image. It's part of a pretty big pull-out booklet promoting her recent album.
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Posted by Paranda at 11:48 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2007

Enter! and Momoi Concert DVD updates

As you may have read here, the latest Momoi single came out on Dec. 27, 2006. Unlike her other releases, since it was made/sold for Toranoana which doesn't ship overseas (yet, they say), it is generally difficult to to find for us foreigners, so I thought I'd upload it.

Enter!

Here is also a lyrics scan in case you need it to sing in the shower (click for large).
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All in all, Enter! is a really nice song written and composed by Momoi (she really is grinding those creative gears lately), and sung in the "cute voice" with clever lyrics faux-advertising Toranoana, reminiscent of Koko dayo. It's a good follow-up to "Koi no Meiousei" and "E.S.P. Thanks to Mami-chan" for a trio of moe song releases - and hopefully the sign of a trend.

Also, I never really thought about it until now but there are a buttload of Momoi CDs and DVDs coming out within the next 3 months. On top of the two Haruko Update DVDs, the new album, 2 unnamed singles, and the Lovedol character song album, I was told today that there are also two concert DVDs coming out in late March, sold separately and also as a box set. They will contain the Stellar Ball concert last year as well as an "UP DATE TOUR" concert yet to be filmed later this month.

Each concert DVD package contains two DVDs and costs 4800 yen, which is quite reasonable for seiyuu DVDs these days, especially 2-disc concerts, so you can get which concert you like. If you really like Momoi or are just itching to waste money and want to get both concerts, there is the ultra box set which costs a whopping 9600 yen, but contains all 4 discs and a free t-shirt - probably even more, because damn this thing is estimated to be incredibly heavy. During my order, shipping came out to over $40 for EMS.

Finally, I am going to announce my Momoi goal for 2007. I ordered the Haruko Update drama DVDs on slow shipping. If nobody subtitles it by the time my order arrives, I am going to do the translation myself no matter how long it takes.

Posted by Paranda at 3:18 AM | Comments (4)

December 18, 2006

Something good came in the mail

No, no...it's not another figure or a CD...

This time it's...

A REPLY FROM MOMOI!! OMG!!!!! *dies*

Exam studying energy: +9999999

THANKS I AM GOING TO PASS NOW

I FEEL FUCKING EXCELLENT!

Posted by Paranda at 6:28 AM | Comments (8)

December 15, 2006

Exam review interrupted by mailman

A good interruption.
Momoi KOTOKO care package
My Momoi and KOTOKO care package. Yume no baton, Saigo no rock, Ippozutsu, Chercher, and Uzumaki. Bonus KOTOKO postcard included. No Momoi extras unfortunately.

Cops
Arrest her officers! For the crime of cuteness!

Back to study.

Posted by Paranda at 9:12 AM | Comments (2)

December 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Momoi!

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Posted by Paranda at 12:15 AM | Comments (3)

December 12, 2006

The legendary Mail Me PV?

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Since the "Chuo Line" goof-up, which they still haven't fixed, CDJapan's product descriptions have shown themselves to not be 100% reliable, but this time what was written on the page for the brand new Momoi album out in February was simply too exciting to contain to myself.

New full-length album from Haruko Momoi includes the intro and outro themes for her drama "Haruko Up Date," covers, and more. This version includes bonus DVD with the music video for the songs "mail me" and "Saigo no Rock."

Whether it is indeed the one from 2000 or a newly produced video remains to be seen, but considering Haruko Update will be covering the "Mail Me" events in Momoi's life, the prospects for finally seeing the original are high.

Posted by Paranda at 2:26 PM | Comments (1)

December 7, 2006

Esper Mami Tribute Song by Momoi

The ESPER MAMI DVD-BOX, part 2 was released today. Along with it comes the Esper Mami Tribute CD. Momoi shows her love for the series with a new original song, "E.S.P. Thanks to Mamichan" which she wrote, composed, and sang herself. I really love it whenever Momoi composes her own work, it always ends up being catchy. I want this CD so bad right now.

animate.tv has kindly uploaded the short version PV to their website. Danger section: watch out for "beep! beep! beep! beep!" accompanied by hand motions, it is easily over critical mass in moeness.

Animate.tv PV page

I think this may be the best she has ever looked on TV while not in cosplay. Very nice hair, makeup, and wardrobe. It's hard to believe she's only one week away from her 29th birthday.

Also paying respects to Esper Mami is her fellow seiyuu and friend, Ueda Kana. Both videos can be found on the page. Make sure you click the video links on the right if you want a nice broadband version.

Posted by Paranda at 7:58 PM | Comments (3)

December 5, 2006

Yume no Baton release

Momoi's brand new single, Yume no Baton came out in Japan today. There is a CD format as well as a more expensive limited edition version that includes a DVD. Yume no Baton is the ED theme to Haruko Update, and coupled with song is Koi no Meiousei.

Chuo Line, which was sung during her Wonder Momo-i live tour, was erroneously reported to be the c/w song by CDJapan many months ago. I somehow missed this until I looked at the cover just now.

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Also possibly of interest to fans of moe music, Makino Yui's first album is out. I've been following her ever since season one of ARIA, and so far she has been putting out pretty good singles, especially the ED to that NHK anime (I still haven't gotten around to watching it). I think I'm really going to like this album. If so, Makino may be the ninth Japanese artist to cross over from the "download" to "buy" category for me.

Finally, Chihara Minori's Lovedol character single is out too. She's done a great job singing for the Haruhi singles, and I've heard nothing but praise from seiyuu3 about her album, so I'm pretty curious. I've been ever so slightly let down by her voice work in Lovedol, but as I've learned, her singing and voice acting are on completely different levels so the song itself will probably still be good.

In general, there's lots of stuff this week.

Posted by Paranda at 8:19 PM | Comments (3)

November 28, 2006

Completed Komugi figures

ge_komugi.jpgFormer readers of mugimugi.com (not linked because it has since been stolen by squatters) probably know Komugi has inspired many beautiful and high quality figures. Unfortunately, they were usually far beyond the reach of the average fan, as they were either garage kits or ultrarare 8-in-the-world WonderFes exclusives. As a Momoi fan, it's almost shameful to admit that the only Komugi figures I own are gashapons and a 1/8th sukumizu figure that Yuujin included with one of the special edition DVDs.

Finally, a company has released the first set of mass produced Komugi figures (that I know of) to be purchased individually. The only downside: that company is Griffon Enterprises, yes the same guys who made that spreadeagled naked Mii-tan figure. So of course, instead of Magical Nurse Witch Komugi and Magical Maid Koyori we get Nude Witch Komugi and Hadake Apron Koyori instead. :(

Guess these won't be things you can proudly display on your shelf when you have young siblings at home.

Due to those reasons as well as the hefty price tag, I can't say for sure I will order this, but I am happy that at least someone has at last decided to try selling completed Komugi figures. Here's hoping the trend continues...more Komugi figures please!

Posted by Paranda at 12:28 PM | Comments (5)

November 28, 2006

Haruko Update preorders are open

harukoupdate.jpgFor some reason, I didn't get an automated newsmail notification about this from CDJapan. But, luckily I was reminded to check up on this manually yesterday after cortana sent me a trailer/music video of what I assume is the bonus content on the limited edition version of Saigo no Rock that was released two weeks ago. (I still don't have my package yet. In addition to waiting for Yume no Baton, KOTOKO's album release got delayed, which in turn delayed my entire Momoi order until even later than previously thought).

Be warned, it will contain Momoi in a maid outfit rocking out with a broom as if it were a guitar. Potential cuteness overload. Take deep breaths first before watching. From what I've seen, it looks like the DVD is definitely going to be paying service to the Akiba/2ch folk (the trailers portrays them favorably in a Densha Otoko-esque fashion: devoted, slightly kooky friends whose internet postings give her the courage to stand up to the school bullies). Takayama Saki has also decidedly won me over on the casting choice once and for all, after seeing the expression she has when she opens her cardigan to reveal AI on her t-shirt underneath. That's just excellent.

Haruko Update will be released January 26th and will be available in two versions:
regular edition for 5800 yen, and a special edition for 7800 yen.

The premium price on the special edition is due to some very worthwhile extras that will be included: A special edition clear case, a bonus 30 minute CD containing a "100 methods of fun" radio skit, accompanied by the CD jacket specially illustrated by Watanabe Akio (a.k.a Poyoyon Rock), and a 16 page pamphlet with commentary and backstage stuff.

Posted by Paranda at 11:09 AM | Comments (2)

November 1, 2006

One week until Saigo no Rock release

Quick reminder for everyone: November 8, Saigo no Rock, the OP to Haruko Update will be out. You can hear a sample of it on the radio program I mentioned ealier.
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With the OP/ED and DVDs being released within 3 months from now, Momoi is making the rounds on the magazines and news again, proving to everyone that she can still somehow look cute in seifuku at age 28. This month, she is featured in the November issue of PAM! and has an interview in "HM3 Special."

You can read PAM! free (and hi-res) online at http://www.avexmovie.jp/pam/comic.php?vol=078.
There are preview screenshots of the DVD inside!

As for HM3, I am back at school now so I have access to a scanner again. I may scan the HM3 pages too when my monthly magazine package comes (I finally broke down and subscribed to Megami and HM3 in September ;_;. No "Seiyuu Grandprix" unfortunately, I heard she was in that last month too)

Posted by Paranda at 8:11 PM | Comments (2)

October 12, 2006

Momoi Haruko no Radio Update

Ever since URAMOMOI ended there was a void in broadcasting that needed to be filled. Well Momoi is finally back on the radio, internet radio this time that can be downloaded from Anista.tv so no need to go scour P2P sites for rips.

The first episode kicks off with a small clip of her new song - Saigo no Rock, which is the opening for her upcoming release DVD Drama - Haruko Update.

She talks a bit about this DVD release. It's a dramatized autobiography of sorts, and will include coverage of her early career in TV, radio, internet, etc. starting from even when she was still in school (she says when she was 16), and her semi-idol status.

At 8:50, we get to hear a lengthier preview of Saigo no Rock. Initial impressions are good. She has some really impressive vocals at certain parts, and the chorus is catchy. CHA-CHA will be stuck in my head for days. It's still her new sound though, consistent to what she put out on her last album, so I don't really understand why she pushed her recent event as "Moe wa Rock da." I was secretly hoping for a throwback to her cutesy singing, but I fear she has abandoned the art of "moe song." I suppose I shouldn't jump to conclusions like that though. I said that the same about KOTOKO and then she pulled a fast one and came out with Mighty Heart. And this song is pretty good anyway so I'm not complaining.

The guest today was Takayama Saki who is playing Momoi on the DVD. Her voice is pretty shaky so I'm not sure how the hell she fits the role of the great MOMOI, but who knows...that pic on the Anista.tv does make her look pretty close to the real one :P. Anyway she talks a bit about herself, like her ranking in a beauty contest back in 02 and some other stuff when she gets interviewed, and stays for the entire 40 minutes of the show for discussion.

The following seiyuu were advertised between breaks, in this order: Sakai Kanako, Satou Rina, Nabatame Hitomi

Posted by Paranda at 12:21 PM | Comments (1)

October 8, 2006

Lovedol episode 1

Oh yes, it's finally out. And yes it's pretty bad. Luckily, I've insulated myself by lowering my standards specifically for this show, and now that I'm done putting myself at the mercy of episode one, I'll pre-emptively say that despite its horrible animation budget and disappointing start, the show may prove to be "watchable" at the very least. However, my specific recommendation: skip episode one and just read this summary. I'll let you know when it's safe to come out.

Next, screencaps and commentary:
Lovedol screencaps
It is immediately obvious that the animation for this series is incredibly low budget. As you may have read on seiyuu3, they did indeed reuse animation for the opening scene, and it's so horribly obvious in length and execution that anyone would have noticed it. It's a bad way to start a series, but let's face it..nobody who's watching this thing wasn't already planning to watch it solely for voice acting from the start. When you bill it under a cast like this, the need for making a good first impression on animation quality goes out the window. Still, I wish they had gone the route of some shows by simply discarding the opening for the first episode altogether until they could scramble enough scenes together to make a clip-based opener fused with what they had here. Oh well, at least what little was animated was kind of cute and..um...the lack of any sort of moving background means it's potentially good gif material? No probably not.

Lovedol screencaps
By the way, the OP theme by Nogawa Sakura is disappointing. I have no complaints with her singing itself and the tune is fairly catchy, but it's overly simple, as if the composer threw all the notes together on a pad in under five minutes and then hired a student arranger. I suppose I was hoping for something of perhaps.."Motto" quality? This sure ain't Magikano.

Lovedol screencaps
Lovedol screencaps
Anyway, it only gets worse, not better. The first ten minutes of the show actually consists of 90% still images slowly panned from left to right behind a "digitize" filter and laboriously introduces us to each of the twelve pre-existing idols. Yes, you will slowly pan through three or four images of every single girl shown on stage here. Considering the show isn't even about them, the amount of time dedicated to doing this is absurd. Interestingly, the song they sang here in my opinion was actually better than the OP. Sadly, there wasn't nearly enough of it to offset the sheer boringness of waiting the scene out.

Lovedol screencaps
After that mighty test of patience, one of the idols Yui (voiced by Nogawa) announces to the fans that she has some important news...

The debut of four new idols, in order of appearance

Lovedol screencaps
GOTO YUKO! Oops, I mean Nekoya Miu. She likes making cat sounds and pawing. Goto's voice here is pretty good.

Lovedol screencaps
MOMOI HALKO!!! er...Nonomiya Mai. She has way too few lines to get any sort of analysis going on yet, but I must do my duty as a Momoist and use what I can. She sounds a little stiff, but I think that is intentional. Mai seems like a cynical character who makes blunt observations. will be interesting hearing Momoi play a stoic role like this. Her episode will come...and I can't wait.

Lovedol screencaps
CHIHARA MINORI! Um...Hojo Hina. Boy she sure is quiet. Minorin is using her soft voice.

Lovedol screencaps
NAKAHARA MAI! No, Kiryu Kotoha, another quiet girl. Mai-tan sounds pretty standard here but that's ok, I love her voice in any state.

Lovedol screencaps
So what's the announcement? Well girls, your big debut has just been postponed :V

Lovedol screencaps
The manager, who also organized the last 2 generations of idols for his company Sweetfish Productions, realizes he just got screwed and hurries to demand an explanation from the president. Apparently she feels the idol group is still lacking something, but, in a typical "I'm much better than you" fashion, allows him to go figure that part out himself.

Lovedol screencaps
Of course, manager Fujisawa Tomohiro here has absolutely no idea what it is. The president has conveniently sped away in her black car to let him alone crush the dreams of his lovely idols.

Lovedol screencaps
The next day, Tomohiro thinks about the president's words before he is interrupted by his little sister Ruri (voice by Sakai Kanako). Ruri is quite a cheerful personality, and Sakai Kanako is surprisingly good at bringing this out. I liked her so much, this scene was actually fun to watch. Some people have applied the "oniichan complex" to her but I don't think that's the case based on what I've seen. Acually Minorin's character Hina is probably one with the oneesama complex.

Lovedol screencaps
Ruri ventures an insightful guess that since all the past generations of idols had six people, the third generation still needs to find two more girls before it can be considered complete. Tomohiro dismisses this theory, but Ruri, always looking out for her big brother, secretly heads out to the agency to meet with the president later presumably to sign up as the fifth person.

Lovedol screencaps
After meeting with his idols for the day at practice, while heading home from the studio Tomohiro sees a girl (Sakaki Mizuki, voiced also by Nogawa) walking by while humming to herself. She sets up shop on a street corner and sings some more. Nogawa performs both tunes pretty well, and this is when I realize happily there is probably going to be a lot of singing in this show. After she's finished, Tomohiro in a decidely creepy stalkerish way, follows her into a park and confronts her. He says she has potential and asks if she would like to sign under his company. Little did he know, Sakaki is very EMO and has issues.

Lovedol screencaps
"I hate singing." Offer refused.

And there's our cliffhanger. Six girls who will become the next generation of Lovedols. So...pretty bad right? Well here's what made up for the whole damn episode:
Lovedol screencaps
No I don't mean "the ending" as in "har har, it's over." THIS should have been the OP dammit. The theme is catchy as hell, and there was actually some animation going on. Someone must have gotten them switched up! It makes me happy that this is the song they've chosen to cover on all of the character CDs. No wonder. If you missed the link to the OP, here it is again, it also contains the ED so you can compare. http://www.avexmovie.jp/lineup/lovedol/song.html

Next episode previews has a pretty nice sounding line from Momoi, but it looks like there may be some fan service which is good or bad depending on your viewpoint.

Final Impressions: Episode 1 is junk, but as a series, it has potential to go somewhere. Maybe nowhere high, but probably on the level of an average anime based on an erogame or something similar. I've definitely seen better, but I've also seen worse. Plus if you're into these particular seiyuu, you'll probably at least enjoy it for the songs they seem to throw in randomly. That's our security blanket we can use when/if this show crashes and burns (then again it is possible to just wait for the character CDs to come out without watching the show). I wouldn't admit to watching it in real life that's for sure.

Posted by Paranda at 6:29 AM | Comments (2)

September 27, 2006

What a surprise, Lovedol is bad (DAMMIT)

lovedolphotoop.jpgInitial reviews of Lovedol have started coming in from various places after Enterbrain sponsored a screening event 3 days ago. Not surprisingly, reactions to the first episode were largely negative with asopaso describing it as horribly disappointing and seiyuu3 calling it "cringe inducing." Reactions to the live event itself however were mostly positive. A series whose primary substance is in actress events? If this show isn't a textbook definition of seiyuu vehicle, I don't know what is. Still, I had been naively hoping it would somehow be good, just because the permanent scars from Eiken serve as a reminder to me of what can happen when trying to endure torture for mere voice acting. Those hopes were significantly diminished, so come October 2nd, it's time to buckle down and take my pills.

According to asopaso, Momoi, as usual in her efforts to be insane, thought it was a good idea to cosplay as Nonomiya Mai. Based on the image (from ATV, see also "Moe wa Rock da") I think she was the only one in cosplay that day. Perhaps this was among the factors that contributed to seiyuu3's analysis that Momoi seemed to not fit in with the others, although I believe I have read elsewhere that Momoi and Nogawa are quite good friends, plus everyone there with the exception of Minorin and Goto (I'm not going to call her Gotu-za sama because it looks really retarded to actually write it out in romanji) worked together on Magikano less than a year before. So I'd probably just attribute her aloofness, if not imaginary, to her being incredibly burned out by other promotions lately.

Interestingly, more than once on the internet, Goto Yuko was called out for being especially witty at this event. Goto struck me as being pretty good at this sort of thing ever since she recorded that fan video for the Shuffle event, so now I really want to see what she said here. Another nice discovery on the net was that Kuwatani Natsuko and Kugimiya Rie were members of the second generation Lovedol. Suddenly I have a strong interest in digging for it.

Posted by Paranda at 12:17 PM | Comments (1)

September 18, 2006

Avex update watch

Avex's Momoi Project page, now dubbed "Momoi no Homupage," changed today. New additions are the title and tracklist for her first release on 11/08, as well as some new welcome audio (right click the flash file and select play to hear more sayings). A second one is coming out in December. For both releases, there will be both a CD+DVD version and a CD-only version.

First CD Details, from the release page:
Saigo no rock (release: 11/08/06)
01 Saigo no rock
02 Ushiro yubi sasaregumi
03 Saigo no rock
04 Ushiro yubi sasaregumi

CDJapan started taking preorders for all of her new singles as of September 12th (mine were processed same day, although I opted to not preorder the 12/06 one just yet). Here are the relevant links to all three:
11/08 - Saigo no rock
11/22 - Ippozutsu / Love, Love, Love no Sei Nanoyo!
12/06 - Untitled

Interestingly enough, if you check the 12/06 link, it seems that Chuo Line will finally be getting released on that particular CD.

Also, I somehow missed a vitally important link the last time I checked Momoi's site, so I'll mention it now: if you visit "Special" (スペシャル), a short preview clip of LOVE.EXE has been online for a while.

Posted by Paranda at 4:58 PM

September 11, 2006

Momoi no Homupage Yokoso!

Momoi's Avex page gets a sudden and complete makeover. Here is their new official banner link:
Momoi Project banner

Make sure you have sound turned on. If you used to visit Momoi's old site before it got dumped, you know what to expect :)

The randomized pics on the front page continue fueling my suspicion that she and Tokunaga Ai are lost twins separated at birth.

Posted by Paranda at 6:57 PM | Comments (1)

September 9, 2006

Ippozutsu and other Momoi news

lovedolcast.jpg
Last month, I offhandedly mentioned how excited I was about the new TV anime Lovedol. Specifically, I was excited about the concept of an "idol anime" with a great cast, because it signals an inevitable stream of character CDs. But that was all speculation then. Now, it's confirmed.

According to the September issue of avex's free monthly publication pam!, there will be a series of single releases: one per week starting in November at 1260 yen each. Probably more as they release compilation vocal albums. The ultimate hope I have here of course is to have lasting seiyuu stables as a result, releasing single after single and compilation albums reaching "Sister Princess" levels.

Here's the release schedule if you're having difficulty reading the flash file on that site:

11/01 - Nogawa Sakura - Koi, hajimemashita
11/08 - Nogawa Sakura - Hateshi no nai sora
11/15 - Nakahara Mai - WISH STAR ni na.a.re
11/22 - Momoi Haruko - Ippozutsu
11/29 - Goto Yuko - Kiipon! Kiipon!
12/06 - Chihara Minori - Candy(bitter&sweet)
12/13 - Sakai Kanako - Junjou ko wa RARURARUN♪

Although I've bolded Momoi's song for emphasis reasons, I'm pretty much looking forward to every single one of these releases - especially more singing from Minorin.

But anyway, Ippozutsu is not the ONLY interesting Momoi news lately. According to her Avex page, tomorrow Momoi has a mini-live event at Osaka's Days Pier, where she will show a preview of her OTHER newest song, Saigo no Rock, the opening theme to her upcoming DVD. Toranoana will also be having a mini-live on October 1st. The single will be on sale officially November 8th this year.

Finally, Momoi's Komugi character has undergone somewhat of a surprise resurrection. Check out this month's character radio special "Komugi's Magical Nurse Station ZZ."

Speaking of radio, fans of Koike Masaya, YURIA, or Kesugi should tune in to "Moe Music Station," an online radio program broadcast every Friday by their band Sweets Tankentai. It's been on for a while but I only started listening two weeks ago. On most older sites, the show is billed under YURIA and Kesugi only, but Koike has been on every single time I've listened so far - I think he's just officially part of the show. His picture is part of the radio icon anyway so maybe he was added to the roster, I don't know.

Fun facts about Sweets Tankentai band members gleaned from listening?
1. Koike still uses and answers to the name Aniki.
2. All three are exclusive Mac users (although you probably already knew Koike was a mac fan just by visiting his homepage).
3. All of them love Haruhi Suzumiya!

edit: Apparently I misspelled "resurrection." That'll show me for playing too much Discworld.
edit2: I claimed earlier in this post that Momoi's new song was called Moe wa ROCK da. This is incorrect. An update on "Momoi no Homupage" indicates that the new song is actually titled Saigo no Rock. It appears that Moe wa ROCK da is just tagline of sorts for the promotion.

Posted by Paranda at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2006

LOVE.EXE PV rumors clarified

torawindow.jpg
According to Exafield, it seems the "PV" is actually live footage from her recent concert (in the above outfit). However it has been restricted to playing in Toranoana store windows for now, so I highly doubt we'll be able to see it (maybe on the DVD later) unless somebody sets up a cam outside the store and posts on youtube or something. Searching for LOVE.EXE on youtube will get this fun little video of Yuki Nagato kicking large amounts of ass though.

Speaking of Yuki Nagato, there's an interesting little entry on Minori Chihara's blog (VA for Yuki). Apparently she went to Momoi's concert. They are on good terms it seems. That makes Minorin twice as cool as previously thought. And I had already liked her in-character singing best out of the Haruhi seiyuu trio. She and Momoi both have roles on the upcoming TV anime Lovedol ~Lovely Idol~.

It should be noted that Lovedol, although at first glance appears to be utter garbage concept-wise, has a wonderfully interesting seiyuu cast even if we exclude Momoi. After seeing the results in Magikano, God knows I will wade through any kind of shit for Mai Nakahara and Sakura Nogawa cast together. Not only that, as an idol anime we are guaranteed plenty of character CDs and image songs, so even if the show winds up as a swirling vortex of suck, at least we'll be left with some great residual merchandise. Remember Wandaba Style? Same deal.

Posted by Paranda at 6:49 AM | Comments (2)

August 21, 2006

momo-i quality LIVE IN Stellar Ball a success

Two days after the big live concert, commentary is slowly making its way around the net. By most accounts, the event was a great success. The sold out concert had a turnout of some 1000 people. Plug has uploaded some of their more praising fan mail. There is also short news blurb about it in sanspo.com which has been picked up by Yahoo. No pics have been found yet. But there IS a nice page about the PR event at Ishimaru on the 17th:
ishimarumomoi.jpg

Also, there are rumors (possibly confirmed) of a LOVE.EXE PV in the works. Keep your eyes open.

UPDATE:
It appears that longhorn has posted something that looks like a DVD program. Based on the entry, It seems that the concert will be getting its own full release. I'm surprised the announcement came already. I have no idea if that's a real list or his speculation, and I cannot read Korean so I cannot provide any more information on it until I run it by someone who knows the language.

Posted by Paranda at 4:29 PM | Comments (1)

August 17, 2006

momo-i quality ranks at 64 first week of release

A decent number, although not significantly higher than her other releases. Please keep in mind however that Momoi's releases usually stay on the charts for two weeks. Oricon weekly charts are based on sales Monday through Sunday, so the first week has accounted for five days of sales (albums are almost always released Wednesdays for some reason). Next week we will see 7 days of sales data. This is the first time I've ever tracked Oricon data so I have no idea about trends or if the rank tends to go up or down the second week with 7 day sales figures. But we shall see...

Oricon releases ranking data for the previous week to industry clients Mondays, and to the general public on Wednesdays.

Posted by Paranda at 9:09 PM | Comments (6)

August 14, 2006

Seiyuu and Anime Song Music Guide

On the way back from work, I stopped by Kinokuniya to see if I could get my hands on the august issue of Anikan. While the mission failed, I did manage to come back with something equally interesting:

Guide coverGuide back
Guide pageGuide page
Aspect's Seiyuu and Anime Song Music Guide, a full color voice actor and anime song guidebook with some 100 artists and 200 titles listed, most with a brief description/review and lots of pictures. There are also articles and additional photoshoots with certain artists like Round Table featuring Nino and Ryoko Shiraishi. Most importantly, a large section is dedicated to a Momoi interview with plenty of photos. Unfortunately, I don't have a scanner so I can't scan any pages...but I do know how to rip DVDs! And it just so happens that this guidebook also includes a 22 minute "message" DVD with many of the featured artists.

See Momoi's message on youtube (1:23)

DVD screenshot
DVD screenshot
DVD screenshot
DVD screenshot
DVD screenshot

Posted by Paranda at 9:02 PM | Comments (2)

August 12, 2006

Momoi CD, Otakon loot, and other things

momo-i quality ~Best of Momoi~, Halko Momoi's first independent album, has arrived. Somewhat disappointingly, the "photobook" is not a real separate book but actually a hybrid built into the first edition album jewel case. The case is a hardcover book format, with adorable Momoi baby and school pictures (with commentary) as well as a collage of recording studio photos attached to the inside cover. There is an additional booklet neatly sandwiched between some pages of the photobook, containing lyrics accompanied by photos of Angel Momoi and Demon Momoi in various stages of DBZ-style battle before finally reconciling their differences on the last page. The disc is a fine black with the text "momo-i quality" printed in a futuristic silver font.

Lyrics booklet:
Momoi booklet 1

Photobook:
Momoi booklet 2

Inside Disc:
Momoi booklet 3

A separately packed B2 (20"x28*) promotional poster is included.
Momoi poster

Although momo-i quality is a compilation album of past songs, upon listening it actually feels quite new since most of the songs previously released have been remixed. Here are the tracks I've picked out that have not been previously released:

Opening - dreaming more! more! - is an instrumental intro remix loosely based on Motto Yume Miyou and was composed by Momoi herself.

LOVE.EXE -momo-i quality version- features more complex instrumentals this time, arranged professionally by Shinya Saitou. The vocals have also been significantly stripped of distracting effects, and the overall result is a much cleaner song that maintains the catchiness of the original.

Far and away ~party night~ -new mix- is my current favorite on this album and a wonderful remix of Feria's theme song from Prism Ark: Prism Heart II. Slow clear vocals set to a good tune always always tend to sit well with me. The arranger is Haraddy.

Akihabalove -summery summer version- A very impressive remix by Halko Momoi, who according to the credits also played composer/arranger on this one. I find the background instrumentals a lot more varied and interesting than the pure synth sound by Perfume. As for whether she does a better job of singing, I think her pronouncing of "dekiruyo" is a thousand times cuter than Nocchi. I will not say more at the risk of starting a Perfume vs. Momoi holy war.

As for Motto, Yume, Miyou!! -now I feel...version-: although it is "new" in name, it appears to be the exact same song as bright future next step version. If someone can correct me on this and point out any subtle differences that I may have missed, please let me know.

Overall, given the new tracks and the extras, this album is solid in terms of content and a good buy for any Momoi fan, especially since many of the singles featured in this CD are no longer available for purchase.

But aside from Momoi stuff, my mail today also contained a few other goodies which had probably been sitting in CDJapan's offices for months before I finally relieved them of their misery and let them ship everything together:
August CDs
Clockwise from the top-left corner: momo-i quality, Mami Kawada's Seed, two Kimiko Koyama albums, To Heart 2 Soundtrack and Character Songs, Marinarina and Zoku Marinarina.

And lastly, because I forgot to post about it...I returned last week from Otakon. The trip was fairly productive, and I managed to cram in most of the presentations I wanted to see, excluding 4chan because fuck that idiotic line and the powertripping staffers who tried to herd it.

Out of the video showings, I most significantly came away with newfound appreciation of Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha, which I previously dismissed as retarded magical girl pedobait (I was ESPECIALLY put off by this genre ever since the steaming turd that was Magical Canan - which I forced myself to watch solely for Rokku character designs and Mizuki Nana voice - who by the way probably realized this show was shit and mailed in an absolutely dismal performance that I still haven't completely forgiven for someone of her caliber). Now realize the error of my judgmental ways. In the 4 episodes of "A's" that I saw, I learned that Nanoha is not a panty flashing girly girl moe show but actually about powerful mages wielding awesome steam-releasing pump-action cartridge-loaded rocket-powered polo-playing jackhammers scored to a John Williamsesque full orchestra soundtrack (HELL YEAH). Goldenboy was also pretty good and I will probably be tracking it down eventually. Out of all films, my favorite showing without question was Osamu Tezuka's Cleopatra, a terrible low-budget and unsubbed 18+ movie which was simultaneously the best and worst thing ever.

Industry-wise, I attended about 12 industry panels during my trip. Notable guests I met include Madhouse founder Masao Maruyama and director/character designer Kazuto Nakazawa, two great guests who both had CRIMINALLY low attendance (like 20-30). Interestingly enough, Masao Maruyama went to see Nobuteru Yuki's panel, and sat down directly next to me - I scored an early autograph this way. I had to miss most of the J-Rock panels due to scheduling reasons, although I did get into the MUCC/Nana Kitade concert thanks to some incredible luck. Out of everything, Ayako Kawasumi was probably my favorite for obvious reasons, and I'm still kicking myself today for forgetting to bring my iRiver with me to record it. During the autographing session, she signed my Maritan book and was particularly amused that I even knew about it.

Here is the Otakon haul, limited not by my funds but by the size of my backpack (Sunday in dealer's room was AWESOME. My budget was only $200 but I filled up wayyy before that):
Otakon stash

As you can see, a couple of good things up there..such as two Aria figure collections, new YURIA album Honey Bee, an issue of HM3 (seiyuu photobook magazine), oh and the crown jewel + ultimate goal of the trip:
Otakon stash
Otakon stash
Two autographed items by Ayako Kawasumi! :) I'm quite the happy camper.

By the way, Ayako is much MUCH cuter than any pictures would have you believe. She's just not very photogenic.

Posted by Paranda at 7:33 PM | Comments (5)

August 9, 2006

momo-i quality on sale now

Album is now in stores. My own package has shipped and is due to arrive in 2 days.
momo-i quality cd cover
According to some Japanese blogs, there are additional extras aside from the photobook. However, they will remain a surprise for those of you ordering :).

Also, AVEX has a new feature at the top of their page. MOMOI PROJECT!!! It seems like there will be a three part project with the first part, her "essay" coming this fall. A DVD drama disc is planned for next spring, and opening/ending songs for the DVD will be out in November and December.

Posted by Paranda at 10:06 AM | Comments (2)

July 29, 2006

momo-i quality tracklist confirmed, with cover preview

As the release date draws near, the info just keeps pouring in. So here's yet another post:

Dark Momoi
This time the source is official, from Momoi.com and linked to Avex which is producing the CD.

CONFIRMED TRACK LIST (copy pasted):

01 Opening -dreaming more! more!- (instrumental)
02 LOVE.EXE -momo-i quality version-
03 mebius ring
04 Adolescence -rainy Taipei version-
05 Hide and seek
06 恋のレシピ
07 フィギュアになりたい -re painted version-
08 ゴー☆ホーム! -Master MIX version-
09 贖罪のラプソディー
10 Far and away ~party night~ -new mix-
11 アキハバラブ -summery summer version-
12 Friendship
13 もっと、夢、見よう!! -Now I feel...version-

COVER IMAGE
An image of Angel Halko and Demon Halko duking it out via energy blasts.
Cover art of momo-i quality

Also some disappointing news: Although there was discussion about the rumored Mail Me PV on various discussion boards, the website makes no such mention, leading me to believe it was at best a rumor. Sorry, we will not be seeing Mail Me this time.

Finally, it seems like I missed this publicity event which took place about a week ago. Momoi has been looking REALLY good this month since she's been running around so much with doing appearance-critical PR events. Also, I've been noticing she and Ai Tokunaga have pretty similar features - with the image on that site only emphasizing this.
Momoi vs. Ai
This is not the best picture to compare with, but it's all I can find of Ai at the moment. Trust me if you look hard enough you'll see it.

Commenting here disabled because the auto-spammers REALLY love this entry for some reason.

Posted by Paranda at 4:54 AM | Comments (4)

July 29, 2006

Momoi feature in August issue of Anikan

News discovered thanks to longhorn's blogging efforts.

View Anican's announcement
anikan.jpg
.

A special feature concerning the upcoming release of momo-i quality. I haven't read the article, but the cover pics are nice. My guess on cosplay was right it seems. The tagline reads "Moe's angel and devil stand off." I think I may need time to recover my senses...

Apparently this is a limited printing of 200,000 copies (is that really limited?) that came out on July 26th. I am unsure but I THINK I remember seeing Asahiya bookstores carrying Anikan magazines. Or was it Kinokuniya, or possibly even Bookoff? In any case, it's due time for a trip to all three stores anway, conveniently located within walking distance of eachother in NYC.

edit: No it was my mind playing tricks on me. Apparently I actually saw it online. Oh well I think I'll go visit Bookoff anyway.

Posted by Paranda at 4:17 AM | Comments (0)

July 29, 2006

DS Flashing and Momoi Moonshell

Supercard and Superkey
Today I received all the materials I needed to start messing around with some DS Homebrew. With the bulky DS's resell value destroyed (and also my own intentions to buy a DS Lite anyway when better colors come around), I had nothing to lose voiding my warrany and flashing the firmware on my system. And yes, I did get the Supercard MiniSD over the brand new slimmer cards because I just love the completely random Boba Fett image on the front of the card.

Sam and Max on ScummVM
Here is my favorite LucasArts adventure game of all time, Sam and Max, running on ScummVM for DS. I pulled this directly from my Sam and Max CD, with full audio.

Moonshell with Momoi wallpaper
I also took the opportunity to install Moonshell, and gave it the necessary background.

Koi no Milkyway video on DS screen
A quick video test with the Koi no Milkyway PV proved to be successful.

So far I've only used up about 300mb of space on my 1GB card. I'll see what else I can put on this tomorrow.

Posted by Paranda at 3:34 AM | Comments (1)

July 20, 2006

momo-i quality LIVE IN Stellar Ball 2006

Event Date: August 19, 2006
Ticket Price: 4500 yen
TIcket Sale Date: July 22, 2006
Location: Shinagawa Prince Stellar Ball Room

Major Live Event: Yes
Prospects for DVD release: LIKELY!

Posted by Paranda at 10:34 AM | Comments (2)

July 17, 2006

momo-i quality updates

We are less than a month away from the release date...it's time to turn on my momoi radar again. New updates for Momoi's first full length non-UNDER17 album, "momo-i quality Best of momoi" are as follows:

New promotional image (possibly for the poster and/or cover):
momo-i quality image
The ever reliable Momoi dons yet another elaborate dress. She seems to be reinventing her look with every new release nowadays. Knowing her, it's probably some sort of cosplay. This is of course a good thing. The outfit gets my thumbs up - she looks good in black. And oh god that hair <3

Track Info
Of the 12 tracks to be on the album, the following 7 tracks have been confirmed by two or more sources. Note, these are not in any sort of order:
LOVE.EXE
Adolescence -rainy Taipei version-
Friendship
Hide and Seek
Shokuzai no Rhapsody
Go Home -Master MIX version-
Figure ni Naritai -Pre-Painted version-

According to another post on mixi, the other five tracks will be:
Motto, Yume, Miyou!! -bright future next step version-
far and away -partynight-
Akihabalove -BEST Momoi ver-
Space Love
Ironic

However, this second set has not yet been confirmed (that I know of). As we get nearer to the release, I am sure more details will surface.

Finally, a thirteenth candidate, mebius ring, is also a a high possibility due to its inclusion in the iTunes store announcement on Plug.

Posted by Paranda at 1:43 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2006

Disregard what I said about Akihabalove DVD

My purchase has apparently failed. I (incorrectly) assumed I had won the DVD as my 5000 yen bid had gone unchallenged for quite a while plus I was willing to go double that..until this morning during the final minutes of the auction, a massive bid war erupted. After seeing prices go above 10000, I declined to follow through. Final winning price?

52,000 yen (452 US dollars). For reference, that DVD was sold last year for 2000 yen.
52000 yen

Holy shit!!! I love Halko, but not "450 dollars for a single DVD" love. Japan has some serious fanboys that I cannot compete with. Maybe next time when I am older and richer ;)

Posted by Paranda at 12:06 PM | Comments (5)

June 15, 2006

New Halko Momoi album release date set for August 9th

Way back in January, I posted a small note about a planned Momoi album. Then it was never discussed again and I forgot about it. So imagine my surprise when Plug announced a release date for "Momo-i quality ~Best of Momoi~", a new compilation album featuring much of her post-UNDER17 work. The album will go on sale August 9th, 2006 for 3000 yen (3150 after tax, which is irrelevant if you are ordering outside of Japan).

Although Momoi may have dropped some hints during her fanclub concert earlier this Sunday, Plug says they will release more details at a later time so there is no official word on goodies or the tracklist yet. However, only hours after the announced release date, CDJapan has listed the product here and promised to include a promo poster if you get the first pressing, so definitely preorder if you want one!

Here's mine:
Momoi order

Also, I finally managed to buy the elusive "Akihabalove" DVD from last summer, so expect some videos making the rounds at Youtube very soon. :)

Posted by Paranda at 10:13 AM | Comments (8)

June 6, 2006

Better late than never: Mebius Ring

With download as promised.

A full month after its exclusive release at DreamParty, I have finally managed to get my hands on it. No new photos of Momoi are included with the disc unfortunately, but in the few times that I've looped it, I think Mebius Ring is quickly becoming one of my favorite Momoi singles. The full version of the first song may possibly be among the catchiest songs I've ever heard, and I hold this opinion even after I've had plenty of time to break in the melody from listening to the short version. Sweet Suite Room is also a nice slow track with gentle vocals which has been very enjoyable to listen to.

As always with Momoi's music...the fouler the content of the game it was made for, the better the song, as if to balance out the evil with good. If the design is intentional, I can only hope Momoi lends her talents to the OP of any horrible incestous tentacle rape loli guro franchises coming out in the future.

Recent interesting news @ Plug:

More details about the special June 11th fan club [m.m.m.] event at Shibuya O-East. She will be performing the top 10 fan requested songs. If you are in the area but don't have a chance to order tickets, several have appeared on various auction sites for very reasonable prices (some even cheaper than the original price).

The June 2nd issue of "Seiyuu & Anime Song Music Guide" contains a Momoi interview. I will attempt to scan this if I get it.

Various Momoi columns have been published. One title that grabbed my attention was Momoi's Otaku Moe Channel, which is some sort of message to Taiwan (she has performed there at least twice to my knowledge, at Frontier). Definitely worth tracking this one down for some laughs. Bonus points if she inserts her own brand of mangled Chinese like last time.

Massively updated profile page on Plug for Momoi, now with fairly thorough resume.

(Update: July 11th: Mebius Link removed due to pobladores.lycos.es/channels/juegos/El_Paraiso_de_Tifa leeching 4GB in 1 week. I rip and upload this stuff for your personal listening, not so you can put it on myspace or whatever other clones. Host it on your own space if you want to do that.)

Posted by Paranda at 2:11 AM | Comments (0)

May 19, 2006

Momoi will be at DreamParty Osaka

Info appeared on Plug's website. Just a heads-up to PantsGoblin who I know is in the area at the time. Lucky bastard you!

Posted by Paranda at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

May 3, 2006

Major Momoi News Update

Apparently a lot of stuff happened while I've been out for exams. Now that I'm almost done with the semester, it is time for a nice cumulative update.

First, the biggest news: Nakid is gone. "Akiba-kei Queen" Halko Momoi is now under the management of newly formed Plug Entertainment. as of April 1, 2006. Apparently she has been very happy with the move, and promises more frequent updates on new website.
New Momoi Banner

So far, this has been true. The new page reflects an overall step towards involving the fans. It contains much more content than Nakid, and announces all of its news as blog posts which can be tracked. They have also organized many more live events, as well as fully revamped the Fan Club for the better.

New Fanclub Details

The new fanclub fee is 1500yen admission with 3000yen annual payment.
Members receive the following benefits:

  • A membership card with your name filled in by Momoi herself.
  • Priority for ticket offers.
  • Access to members-only events.

And more..

First of these members-only events: a fanclub kickoff celebration concert with Momoi on June 11th. Admission is 4000yen, and ticket holders will have an opportunity to request the songs performed.

Mebius Ring released at DreamParty Tokyo 2006

Mebius Ring CDMomoi gave a live performance on stage today for the third year in a row at DreamParty Tokyo, a semiannual event (also held in Osaka) dedicated to erogames, cosplay, maids, and all other things of interest to Akiba-kei. Her latest single, Mebius Ring, was featured. As expected, the CD was released at this event, following the announcement made by Plug last week.

Also among the performers were MOSAIC.WAV. A full list of stage events can be found here. I will follow up on this with photos and possibly the full version of Mebius Ring as they are made available.

If you have not yet heard Mebius Ring at all, you can refer to the short version posted a few pages back.

Posted by Paranda at 7:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2006

My turn

Wonder Momoi, Heart to Heart, beingNow it's my turn to flaunt this DVD after everyone else already got theirs. Stupid SAL shipping :(. So anyway, the pacakge came after much waiting. Final projects are coming up and I have too much to do this week so I am going to put off comparing this new DVD with the old one until i have more time. A lot more time. Like.."after final exams/start of summer" time. I'll say this though - the extras are a bit disappointing. A single folded sheet as a liner note, with a B&W image on the back? No stickers/booklets/anything? I think they fixed the aspect ratio though, and got rid of the stupid interlacing. That's good at least. More on this later. In addition to Wonder Momo-i DVD, I have also received KOTOKO's new single "being," limited edition version, and Arisa Nakayama's mini album "Heart to Heart." This is significant since I rarely import non KOTOKO/Momoi CDs. Heart to Heart is just that good to be worth getting, so consider it a big deal I guess.

Posted by Paranda at 11:42 PM | Comments (0)

April 10, 2006

Mebius Ring

A short version of Halko Momoi's new song, Mebius Ring, is now up. It is the opening song for the H-game Sweet Room which will be released April 28th. Information can be found at the game's website (NWS!!!)here(NWS!!!). H-game songs often tend to bring out Momoi's best work, so I'm very glad she doesn't consider herself beyond doing these just yet. It is pretty catchy.

I've ripped an mp3 copy for anyone who wants to throw it on a portable player without WMA support until the full version comes out. Please enjoy.

It is back to studying for me.

Posted by Paranda at 1:33 AM | Comments (2)

April 3, 2006

Cut scenes have been uploaded

Rumors of scenes cut from the new Wonder Momo-i Live Tour Final DVD disc have been confirmed. DJ Momo-i /Perfume and Manzo solo segments are NOT on the disc. To rectify this situation, I've uploaded several of these cut scenes to Youtube. The source is from the original Express DVD produced by Nakid.

Akihabalove, by Perfume and DJ Momo-i

Nihon Break Kogyo, by Manzo

My Pace Daioh, by Manzo

There are some MCs and additional songs cut too, but since my own copy has not yet arrived I have no idea what exact parts are missing without a side-by-side comparison. Plus, ripping is quite time consuming and I am the lazy type :p

The new DVD, despite being cut, has its merits though. Extras and backstage are included, accurate the earlier report I posted last month. Moetron.com has some nice images of the physical goods.

Posted by Paranda at 3:09 AM | Comments (4)

March 29, 2006

Wonder-Momo-i DVD and Mami Kawada's SEED out today.

Mami Kawada's new album: Seed
Well Momoi's DVD is finally out. Let's see if I preordered early enough to get in on the limited extras or not. There's not much new to report yet that I haven't already said in my previous anticipation posts, but in the coming days I will be scouring the blogs of Japanese fans who bought it for some reactions and information.

Regarding today's second significant artist release: Mami Kawada is the second I'VE singer to to catch a big break, having signed on with Geneon last year and released several singles. Her first album, Seed, came out today. I unfortunately did not know about this album release soon enough to have packed it together with my Wonder Momo-i DVD which shipped this morning. Earlier in the month, Mami also announced her first Live Tour in Japan which will begin in May. Advance tickets were made available through ThreeNine.

Posted by Paranda at 11:32 PM | Comments (4)

March 28, 2006

A mystery is solved...

If you've ever watched any Halko concerts, you may have wondered at some point how the hell the audience is so well coordinated with their movements and chants - I know I certainly did. You may have wondered what the differences between concert versions of songs were, or maybe wanted to know the exact words the fans always sang during the opening of Ichigo Go! Go!

The UNDER17 Live Tour, Soshite Densetsu he...in Yokohama Blitz Commemoration Booklet explains it all. Probably the most comprehensive UNDER17 Live event guide ever compiled, this 68 page manual contains extremely detailed information about every live UNDER17 song performance, including lyrics, chanting instructions, clapping instructions, and other fun information, possibly assembled from flyers distributed during concert.

Since it is now in my possession, I used my lunch break at school today to scan the entire thing. Thanks to this book, the next time you hear Ichigo Go! Go!, you too can sing

"Moe moe songu ni misararete, Haruko no toriko ni narimashita! 'Ichigo Ichie' ha ichidokiri, minna de sakebou GoGo! GO!"

I bet it'll impress someone...or make you look like a huge nerd.

My apologies in advance for the terrible quality of the first few pages, as it was my first time scanning anything so I didn't start laying it out properly until I got used to the machine. With some 68 pages, I barely finished within the hour I had, with no time to rescan the bad ones. But hey, if you want a good copy, buy the book if you can. If you can get it for under 3000yen, It's worth it. Really!

Posted by Paranda at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2006

More stuff has arrived.

My Halko Momoi purchases this month include UNDER17 Meets Witch vol. 1 & 2, URA ANSEB backstage disc, Yokohama Blitz concert goods (towel, wristbands, neon tube, keychain, booklet), Sealed Yokohama Blitz pamphlet package (I have no idea what's inside and I'm hesitant to rip open something that cannot be resealed), Kujibiki Unbalance B2 poster, and a B2-size poster of Komugi enlarged from an image that I think was in Voice NEWTYPE or Seiyuu GrandPrix. Still waiting on the new WONDER MOMO-I disc which is due out in 2 days. If you're wondering why the items are arranged like that, it's because the posters came rolled up and need weights on the sides to hold them down for now.
UNDER17 stuff, left side
UNDER17 stuff, right side

Update: I have opened the pamphlet package. Since I don't have a scanner, I just took some crappy pictures of the pages, which I have put into this rar archive.

Posted by Paranda at 11:39 AM | Comments (3)

March 17, 2006

Progress update: Momoi Product List

Got about 100 entries so far and still workin on it. I will convert this spreadsheet to HTML and post it once I have roughly have double this amount. I may also store this into MS Access at some point depending on how huge this gets.The hardest part was finding the product keys for most of these. There is a lot left to be done, including more merchandise, many unsold/unlisted products, and separate listings for bundled items.I also need to add my notes to everything. As far as anime listings go, currently I have only listed the three series where Halko has been considered a main character: Majokko Tsukune-chan, Komugi, and Popotan. If I were to include smaller roles such as her membership in the trio Chikarinzu from Ai Yori Aoshi, or her role as Maya from Ragnarok, I'd probably die from exhaustion although I may consider it after I finish the other stuff. Since there is no master list for me to match this against, there may be errors. Message me if you see any.

Posted by Paranda at 1:27 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2006

More WONDER MOMO-I Live Tour Final Release Details

Some more details about the March 29th release of WONDER MOMO-i have been released by Columbia Entertainment.

The full name of the release will be WONDER MOMO-I Live Tour Final [With Backstage]. The full item key is COBC-4519-20 and will cost 5500 yen afer tax. There are some changes compared to the Wonder Momoi Express disc produced by Nakid that came out earlier. Here is the new updated cover compared side by side with the old one:
Columbia CoverNakid Cover

Like the Express DVD, there will be two discs. On this release though, here will also an additional "Momoi commentary" audio track, and bonus Backstage scenes included with the second disc. For the limited first press edition, you will also receive the DVDs in a special collector's box. A poster may or may not be included, but I am unsure at this point in time (it is not listed on the Columbia page but I hear some talk about it). Here is a handwritten message by Momoi about her DVD release.

Again, this is NOT the same as the Express version. If you've preorded from CDJapan, do not fear. They are using the outdated "Express" name, but the item key is correct so it will be the same product.

Posted by Paranda at 8:43 PM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2006

GURAGURA on Youtube

Youtube is actually getting pretty popular these days, probably even more than Google Video, and it seems to have every jpop related thing on there, including some UNDER17 videos. Well not to be scooped by other fans, I finally decided to make an account and upload one of my favorite Momoi music videos of all time - GURAGURA! A classic!

Youtube lets you hotlink their videos with some code, but I hate it when people embed huge media files into their blogs, so I am just going to direct you to the URL here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UUItbhTV418.

Go watch it. It's really cute! Especially if you want to see Momoi break out dance moves. Powerglove <3. It gets pretty out of sync though with the audio lagging behind the video by about 3 seconds, probably because Youtube couldn't handle the weird codec but the video is sufficiently large that I do not want to host it on my own server. So let this act as a screener: interested parties message me for a source.

(And yes, I am working on that value appraisal list. Taking a bit more time than I anticipated but should be up in a while)

Posted by Paranda at 5:51 PM | Comments (3)

March 6, 2006

Bargain hunting pays off big time

This arrived today. Goods are second hand, but in perfect condition and genuine.

Front covers
Back covers

Cost: 4000 yen + shipping
Retail: 10800 yen.

Pretty nice deal, thanks to a well timed and extremely lucky bid. I think I have been browsing the various online stores and auctions markets enough now to start making a value appraisal list that will hopefuly help other collectors determine what their Momoi merchandise is actually worth. Probably will be up Thursday night or Friday. But for now, the midterm cram must take priority.

Posted by Paranda at 5:48 PM | Comments (4)

February 17, 2006

Magikano just got better with 100% more Halko

The funniest anime airing right now just got even better, with episode 5's introduction of Witch Hunter Marin Nijihara, voiced by Haruko Momoi (many thanks to cortana paging me on SA, or I would have missed this awesome series). Halko is still sharp as a tack. Here is a breakdown of her character and debut episode:

Marin, an agent of the vatican, is the retarded version of Ciel.
Nijihara Marin

She hunts witches with her Holy Spear.
Nijihara Marin

But she's an an adorable doofus who can't do anything right.
Nijihara Marin

She employs unconventional tactics to exploit the enemy's weakness.
Eel suit

But often it just leads to more absurdity.
Rat suit

A misunderstanding leads Marin to believe that our male protagonist Haruo is actually a Saint, and that her purpose on earth is to serve him.
Haruo-sama

Of course, Maika is very hostile to any competition for her brother's affection.
Jealous sister

Hilarious antics ensue as a race breaks out over who's lunch Haruo must eat.
Mosh!

A shrinking magic spell is unwittingly unleashed on all members involved, but OF COURSE it doesn't affect the clothes. Also at this point, Sakura Nogawa starts doing her Hina Ichigo voice to match her shrunk down character - and that's seriously cute.
Shrinking

As Marin gets smaller, her resemblance to Popotan's Mii becomes glaringly obvious.
Mii-tan!

Mii-tan, I mean Marin wins the race to deliver her lunch first!
Please eat my onigiri.

OH.. MY.. GOD! IMAGINE THIS FACE WITH HALKO VOICE AMPLIFYING THE CUTENESS! CAN A MAN SURVIVE THIS?
Holy shit cuteness explosion

Finally, everyone returns to normal, except now they're all in their underwear. So yeah, you get the idea...Halko doing ridiculously cheesy roles for a crazy humor show? That's just like her - and damn this is a good series. Even before she shows up I had laugh out loud moments..but now after episode 5 it's sheer heaven to watch this. Get it!

Posted by Paranda at 5:19 AM | Comments (2)

February 8, 2006

Nakid promo goods finally arrived

After waiting for almost two months, Nakid shipped out their Wonder Momo-i calendars. I received mine today, among a few other things. As it turns out, the "calendar" is actually a collection of promo pics printed on glossy paper, with each single photo bearing a handwritten message from Momoi on the back. I would have liked something big enough to put on my wall to act as a real calendar, but in a different way, these are just as good.

Since it is nighttime here, and I have terrible lighting, it is too difficult to tell whether these are actually real individually written cards (they are limited goods after all) or just replicas, but I will check tomorrow under better lighting conditions and report back.

Click thumbnails to enlarge
Calendar FrontCalendar BackCalendar Pages - FrontCalendar Pages - Back


Along with the calendar, I also got the official concert T-shirt which I will probably frame and display somewhere if I can find any more wall space in my unforgivingly small living area. The text and colors are very clear, and the fabric is quite nice and thick, unlike some merchandise shirts which feel like they're made out of tissue paper. Following are images of the shirt SANS model (thank your lucky stars).
T-shirt wrapped
Here it is perfectly folded and wrapped.
T-shirt front
Unfolded front of shirt.
T-shirt back
Unfolded back of shirt.

Finally, unrelated to Wonder Momo-i, today I got a sealed copy of Mail Me, Momoi's debut single. I had always lamented about missing out on her debut release, and wasn't a big enough fan to cash in when they were still being printed. This year I had settled for importing a used copy, but luckily managed to find a brand new unopened copy.

One mystery that was cleared up today from this was.. I was always wondering why people kept showing their bootleg CDs in the official Mail Me boxes. Who knew the actual CD design was made to look like it was burned? Looks like you learn something new every day!

Mail Me frontMail Me back

Posted by Paranda at 7:08 PM | Comments (5)

February 4, 2006

Chuo Line

As I said in my last post, I was going to find out where the hell Chuo Line came from. It turns out it was a song from a live event very long ago by Momoi called the Mail Me Campaign. As far as I know, and I looked pretty hard, there are no CD copies of it in existence.

Thus, I did what I had to do..rip directly from DVD.
Chuo Line (Wonder Momo-i Live tour final version)

edit: bonus Akihabalove track :)
Akihabalove (Wonder Momo-i Live tour final version)

Posted by Paranda at 1:04 AM | Comments (4)

February 1, 2006

A fan's look at Wonder Momo-i Live Tour

A package containing the new Wonder Momo-i Live Tour Final Express DVD and Poly-Phonic arrived today of all days, when I have a rather pressing amount of homework due tomorrow. Of course, I am no fool - I have clear solid priorities, and that means DVD comes first, school comes second. Discs
----------
Things kick off with Halko coming out in baby gear. One thing I need to say about the Tondol Baby costume: it looks really frigging good! My initial impressions of "lol cosplay" from the CD cover are pretty much gone now, as seeing it live has shown me it actually holds as a legitimate outfit. Motto Yume Miyou was a very good choice as a first song, with extremely nice vocals that really got me into the mood.

Unfortunately, things slowed down a bit after. This is the first Halko concert I've seen without Koike. Maybe because of his absence, or because of the song choices, the first third of Wonder-Momoi Live felt a lot less exciting. Where were the crazy fans who could often outshout the music? Why was Halko not doing her usual "kangaroo on speed" act and flying across the stage during performances? The problem with standard concerts is they're usually only fun in person, but are terrible on tape ("terrible" as in not adding much more to the experience compared to say..simply listening to the CD). The difference with Halko concerts is that they defy this convention, and are always fun to watch on video, multiple times even! However, in this concert, everything felt, well, a little standard. "Something was missing," I thought. Let Me Love You is one of my favorite Halko songs ever, but even then I was starting to get a bit bored...that is until Manzo came out. Then they played Ton Dol Baby and THAT's when everyone brought it into overdrive and I really felt like I got that high I love so much. This momentum was thankfully preserved all the way until the end of the concert! While it is refreshing to see Halko do some serious songs once in a while, this concert really proves hyper-Momoi is always the best Momoi - and she really went above and beyond as far as hyper goes, as if to make up for all the slowness before. After the song, she was very visibly tired from going all out. Wow!

So while Halko takes a break to recuperate from that insane display of energy, Manzo takes over to do a few songs, most notably the Genshiken OP (the crowd loved this one). While certainly not as well dressed as Aniki (hardhat and construction uniform???), he's a great performer and sounded really good up there. Then immediately after, Halko pops up out of nowhere in Wonder-Momo cosplay (do I need to mention how gutsy it is to go on stage in front of an otaku crowd *armed with cellphone cameras* in a tiny skirt like that?) and starts singing WONDERMOMOI with some of the best facial expressions ever. She later refers to this suprise apperance as "Wonder Momoi no henshin!" :D

Disc 2 is Halko's now-traditional "cry in middle of concert and butter up fans with sappy dialogue" spot which is always one of my favorite bits. She brings out the "last song" with LOVE.EXE, one of the firsts song she put out after the UNDER17 split. Everyone knew it was a false finish (there's always an encore) but they still cheered extra hard for this song and made it a lot of fun. Especially just going E-GU-ZE as loudly as possible!

Halko, as "DJ Momoi," comes out with Perfume for Akihabarabu! Now personally, only a few months ago I thought Perfume was some crappy amateur cosplay girl band, but I was quickly put in my place after hearing a few of their CDs. Apparently they were much older and credited than I knew. Still, the "measuring stick" for me hass always been on-stage performance, and that's when Perfume officially won me over - very cute and very professional-looking coordinated movements from all three. Perfume is a lot of fun to watch. They have this weird stance leg cross-over into hip waving move that just looks so goddamn cool when done in unison. Akihabarabu is also a pretty good song in its own right.

Finally, Halko comes back in yet another outfit, casual this time, and finishes off for real by speaking with all the band members, and singing "Life is Free" and then "Wonder Momoi" one last time. Perfume and the band come to the front and everyone takes a bow. Credits roll while the fans start singing along to the ending music. We see some backstage footage of - oh shit Halko pops out of the curtains one more time to deliver a final goodbye to all fans. YES!

Impressions: Overall excellent. We got to see the new Halko Momoi in a lot of cutesy outfits. Manzo showed up, and even Perfume did a great job. The fans were also great, as usual. (I swear, there's one dude in the back who must be truly hardcore, because in every single Halko concert DVD I have ever seen, I hear the EXACT SAME scream. Either he's been to all the live events, or Nakid is playing a soundbyte... because it's so recognizable there's no way they can't all be from the same person.) There were also a few new songs I haven't heard before, like "Chuo Line" which is amazing. I wish it were out, or if it already is, I need to know which CD because I really want this song (will be doing research into this later in the week). While UNDER17 Live Tour Final will always be my favorite concert, this DVD did not disappoint. Recommendation - BUY!

Screenshots below

Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots Wonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshotsWonder Momoi Live Tour screenshots

Posted by Paranda at 5:44 PM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2006

As expected, Wonder Momo-i Live tour DVD is on sale.

Thanks to an email notification from CDJapan, I am now aware that it is up for pre-order with release date set for March 29, 2006. Given all the exposure, it was bound to be released through a big distributor like this sooner or later. Apparently "Express" is officially part of the name. Coincidentally, I actually ended up buying a used copy that was sold earlier at Comiket since I didn't have much patience, and I am expecting it to arrive within the week. If only I had received this notification earlier I could have saved some money!

Oh well, at least I'll be able to post a nice preview ahead of time then :) Now I must decide if I want to buy a second sealed copy for archival purposes..because who knows what extra goodies they might include with a pre-order?

Posted by Paranda at 9:39 AM | Comments (5)

January 4, 2006

We love Space Akiba-Pop

Technically not Halko news, but it's time see what Koike's been up to, as we haven't heard from him in a while. As you may or may not know, Masaya Koike (Aniki of UNDER17) recently teamed up with dempa-song duo MOSAIC.WAV and is featured as a guest artist on their brand new album, Space Akiba-Pop, contributing his arrangement and guitar skills to several songs. Sold in limited quantities earlier last week at Comiket 69 and with a street date release of January 20th, it has surprisingly found its way onto the Internet, allowing us commoners an early listen. I express surprise only because this album seems to be getting more coverage (aside from the usual Japanese P2P sources, two IRC groups have also released mp3 versions through torrent sites) than MOSAIC.WAV's previous album "We Love Akiba-Pop" which cannot be found anywhere online as far as I know or cared to search for.
Space Akiba-Pop album cover
MOSAIC.WAV consists of MI-KO on vocals and Susumu Kayamori on keyboard, veterans to the dempa* song business. They work for Sham Studio. Space Akiba-Pop is their second full length album released to date. On this album are all the familiar electronic beats and MI-KO's adorable vocals and cheerleader-esque choruses. It clearly does not disappoint with respect to the first album, with tracks like "Space! Wave! Akiba-Pop" being just as addictive as its predecessor song...or even the cover art, this time an illustration by master-of-cute artist Poyoyon Rock. Plus it has Koike and we know what he can do! With KOTOKO now firmly in the "rock/pop" genre of music and no signs of turning back, we desperately needed another top-tier moe song performer to fill her gap. MOSAIC.WAV was a worthy claimant to this position for quite some time, and their second release now cements their long-term establishment in this field.

If you question my judgment being blurred by my obessions with UNDER17, let me state that I was a MOSAIC.WAV fan even prior to Koike's involvement with them. Not to take away from him or anything, but this album would have received my full endorsement regardless of its ties to the former UNDER17 member. I strongly suggest checking this out if you are a moe song fan like me and have not already heard of this group. Samples of some songs may be found freely available for download on their studio page, but if you plan on buying the CDs anyway (or are feeling particularly unethical) I suppose you could also hunt down the previously mentioned rips on P2P. I need more listening time on the new album to make an accurate recommendation for the new songs, but I can confidently push my old favorites like the original "We Love Akiba-Pop" and "Futsu no Uta." You can't go wrong with these.

* Someone correct me on this, but I believe dempa song is the original term for moe songs - UNDER17 has been credited with coining the word "moe song" according to an article on Excite which has now largely replaced dempa song in usage. The two terms can still be used interchangeably however (with exception to mature content), it appears MOSAIC.WAV has chosen to stick to the older term for consistency.

Posted by Paranda at 8:01 PM | Comments (0)

January 1, 2006

DVD Updates

Happy New Year.
=====
It appears that Wonder Momo-i Live tour Final Express DVD has already been shipped and sold through email and Comic Market 69, and I have seen some photos of the goods in various Japanese blogs which simply makes me more anxious. I am still hoping for a wider release through a major distributor but I am not so sure of the chances now. Maybe the "Express" indicates a premature release while the final product is further polished for mass distribution? I am not so clear on the meaning of the name, so this is baseless conjecture. In any case, I may break down and pay crazy commissions through a middle-man service if there is no new information this month. I don't plan to let this escape like the Akihabalove DVDs.

Also, there is a planned album release this year. This will be the first album Halko Momoi has released since UNDER17's breakup. The tracklist will likely be similar to the song lineup on the Wonder Momoi tour, so let's look forward to that.

Posted by Paranda at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2005

Another article on WONDERMOMO-I

New featured report on the closing act of the Wondermomoi live tour at Shibuya O-East on November 20th. It is a very positive review, and makes several comments about the rowdiness of the audience. As we all know from the previous concerts, Halko's audience can get pretty insane at times, chanting and waving their glowsticks in scarily perfect rhythm to the songs. Apparently this has not subsided with the passing of UNDER17. Fear the power of the Japanese hive mind, and Halko's ability to control it.

OngakuDB Link

After all this coverage in only a few days since the announcement, I for one cannot fucking wait for this DVD to come out.

Also I really should be studying for my accounting exam in 3 hours instead of writing this.

Posted by Paranda at 5:08 AM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2005

WONDER MOMO-i Live Tour Report 2005

I said I wasn't going to make any more updates until exams were over, but screw that. Fast update because it's a really great development:: a detailed report of Wonder Momo-i with many wonderful photos has been covered. This kind of promotion further cements the idea that Wonder Momo-i DVD WILL be available to import overseas.

Based on the pictures, this is looking to be the best concert EVER. Tondol Baby costume LIVE?? <3
OH MY GOD!

Also, it appears that Momoi has adopted the look of "Tsukune-chan" as her character representation in manga. It fits perfectly, and I love it. I always suspected Tsukune-chan's look was directly inspired from Halko anyway. Artists everywhere now have an actual character model to insert into their fan fiction :)

Read the full report at
http://www.sirius.kodansha.co.jp/sp01/index.html

Posted by Paranda at 8:17 PM | Comments (1)

December 14, 2005

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMOI

Halko Momoi is now 28 years old. Congratulations! Fun fact, she shares the same birthday as 16th century French astrologer Nostradamus. I couldn't send in a gift, so I made up for it with reckless spending of my life savings on Momoi related products instead.
Consumerism.
I have exams this month, so I don't have that much time to spend on making updates, but..here's a quick look at some current info:

1. WONDERMOMOI Live Tour DVD release confirmed on nakid two days ago on Nakid. Preliminary order through fanclub mailing lists. Details will be posted on nakid at a later date. I am also aware that a commercial has been released, although I have not located it on the internet. This is looking to possibly be a major release, and will be distributed to overseas carriers, unlike Akihabalove (goddamit! Momoi tear). This is very good news.

2. Momoi will be making her second trip to Taiwan to attend FancyFrontier 7 in February. Taiwanese friends, help me out! Must buy things...

3. Apparently, Wonder Momoi is a really really hard song to play in Taiko Drum Master. Advanced.

That's all for now. Finals begin tomorrow and last until the 23rd. See you in two weeks.
Adios

Posted by Paranda at 12:12 AM | Comments (0)

December 1, 2005

Keeping with the times.

Christmas Momoi
SA Forums custom title updated to reflect the season. Also, watch out for Momoi's birthday, which is coming up the 14th.

Posted by Paranda at 12:53 AM | Comments (0)

November 16, 2005

Red Hat Momoi

Here is a picture of Momoi wearing a red hat during a TV interview this Monday. Maybe she can advertise for Linux.
Red Hat Momoi

Posted by Paranda at 9:33 PM | Comments (1)

November 6, 2005

Wonder Momoi 1st Press Hidden Bonus

I got my CDs in yesterday in a suspiciously large box. Imagine my surprise when..OMG GIANT WONDER MOMOI POSTER INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE!! An excellent bonus indeed. This revelation was followed by several minutes of frantic screaming and praises of Nakid, and possibly a backflip (which I never knew I could do). This is most likely a limited offering though, so if you're feeling lucky, order it now and maybe you'll get a poster too. Or not. Once again emphasizing the importance of always preordering.

Update: camera fixed, image uploaded:
Momoi and Kotoko posters

Posted by Paranda at 1:06 PM | Comments (0)

November 2, 2005

Wonder Momoi tour kicks off

A schedule of performances and locations can be found here.

Posted by Paranda at 10:13 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2005

Interview with the Akihabara Queen

It seems my cries about horrendous weight loss were a wasted effort. Momoi looks as healthy as ever in her brand new interview feature on Excite's Anime Seiyuu Jouhou Portal.

The "Akihabara Queen" discusses her fears after the UNDER17 breakup, her struggle with confidence while she grew as a solo artist, her opinion on "moe", her current direction (We can all rest easy. Momoi will never stray from the denpa song), and her latest achievement, WONDERMOMOI. There are several hilariously cute and sappy moments where she has such passionate and idealistic answers you can just imagine her delivering her lines as some noble monologue with a raging ocean/rock backdrop.
Momoi holding a copy of her new CD
Here she is, cute as ever (I'll write off the cover pic as a case of makeup/lighting/airbrushing) in her signature CD holding pose. Seriously, she should just copyright this pose.
Sonic AdventureMail MeWonder Momoi

Read the full interview at Excite.co.jp

Posted by Paranda at 11:37 PM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2005

Holy Weight Loss

A rip of the Wonder Momoi and some scans were released by LonE today, so I grabbed them to take a look until my package arrived. Here are the jacket pictures.
FrontBack
Jeez Halko got wayyyyyy too skinny. Oh my god where did her cute squishy face go? She needs to smile to bring out the cheeks. But I have no complaints with the songs. Or the angle on the lyrics page. ;-*

edit: now with OMG CHATLOGS. Because they make me feel better.
[23:11:29] ******: o you know what it is
[23:11:33] ******: its the angle they took the picture
[23:11:38] ******: but she did get stick skinny
[23:11:43] ******: now i must go on a diet too
[23:11:59] ******: and her makeup made her face look longer
[23:12:16] The Paranda: oh wow you think it's the makeup too?
[23:12:23] The Paranda: makeup can do that?
[23:12:29] ******: im a girl...
[23:12:30] The Paranda: i mean..it looks like the physical dimensions actually changed
[23:12:42] ******: its the angle and the makeup
[23:12:48] ******: youre not looking at her from the front view
[23:13:14] The Paranda: yeah but..i've seen her from this angle before.
[23:13:42] The Paranda: and that arm..it appears to be getting thinner as it travels up
[23:13:46] ******: the red blush made it seem like her cheek bones arent sticking up
[23:13:53] ******: and notice that she isnt smiling
[23:14:02] ******: or barely
[23:14:11] ******: well thats what happens when you lose weight
[23:14:22] ******: i want arms like those
[23:14:25] ******: :(
[23:14:30] The Paranda: :(
[23:14:48] ******: or maybe this is because she is getting old
[23:14:49] The Paranda: i want my momoi to eat more burgers and icecream again

Posted by Paranda at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2005

Sale date for Wonder Momoi

Yeah...
Wonder Momoi shipped
Should arrive in a week.

Posted by Paranda at 5:43 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2005

Komugi is done.

Ugh two obituaries this week. Well this one is a little late, but I didn't check until today. This is because after watching Komugi Z episode 2, I had an uneasy feeling. That is...too much stuff happened. Closure stuff. It felt like a series finale. Sadly I was right.

Halko has confirmed that the Komugi series is done. Finished. There will be no more Komugi OVA, radio dramas, anything. She had fun with the series, and is now moving on. She also wrote about it on October 7th in momoi.com but I didn't want to believe it. Momoi tearMomoi tearMomoi tear

Komugi cast
Thanks for the good time.

Posted by Paranda at 12:58 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2005

The passing of Momoihalko.com

One of the best Momoi web resources in Japan has been retired. This month, momoihalko.com went down permanently, for reasons not explained by the author. The index page has now replaced by the following text:

2002年6月に開始した『桃井はるこにくびったけ』ですが、管理人の個人的理由により閉鎖することになりました。
申し訳ありませんが各種リンクなどに登録されてる方は削除等の処置をしていただけると助かります。

たった3年と短い間でしたが、もうすぐ50万HITという大勢の人に見ていただき本当に感謝しております。
見づらいし情報も遅くたいしたホームページではなかったですが、BBSに書き込みとかメールとかありがとうございました。

イベントチケ取りのヘルプとか情報を教えてもらったりとかイベントで一緒に盛り上がってくれたりとかほんとたくさんの方に助けていただきました。
こんな結果になってしまい申し訳ありませんでした。今までありがとうございます。

この4年間色々目立った活動をしてまいりましたが皆様にはご迷惑をかけて申し訳ありませんでした。
俺はもう表立ってファン活動をすることはないですが、これからもはるこちゃんが元気に楽しく幸せに過ごせることをいつも願っています。

サーバーの契約が再来年まであるのでとりあえずメールは届く状態です(^^;
何か御用のある方はこちらからよろしくお願いします。

最後にほんとうにいままでありがとうございました。
言いたい言葉はたくさんあるけれどキリがないのでこれにて。

えん☆きよ@管理人

-- http://www.momoihalko.com

It was one of the premier sources for Momoi news, run by a dedicated individual for over 3 years. The hard work is appreciated, and I'm sure it will be missed by all Momoi fans who found value in such a well maintained site. As a fellow fan, I would like to use this post to pay my respects. Momoi tear

Posted by Paranda at 2:35 AM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2005

Komugi Z needs to be subbed!

Since absolutely nobody in the world appears to be subbing Komugi Z, I decided to just cave in and watch the raw. They went to town on this one. Pokes fun at everything from fanboys to virus video games. There was also a hilarious gattai scene with copyrighted characters that were cleverly censored.
Koyori-chan backstoryKomugi Fanboys
I for one am glad to see this OVA picking up the pace again to match the hilarity of the original Komugi series after a somewhat dull first episode. More screens below.

Smelly otakuSmelly otaku
Hahaha, signing the shirt for a putrid otaku. Who then sniffs her signature.
Molesting otakuMolesting otakuMolesting otaku
What a horrible feeling to be an idol. The look of disgust is perfect.
Business manSM OtakuSM OtakuKomugi does what she can to please the fans. Here she is catering to the masochists.
SweatdropKomugi tiredDressing room
Indian guyKennyAnimator
Some more screens. Koyori unleashes virus on unsuspecting computer users. Oh look, it's Dokuro-chan!
Hungry manKyosuke and Komugi
Komugi's secret identity is revealed to Kyosuke.
I have no ideaKoyori PunchKermit?
The humor in the second screenshot is lost in image form.
Dumbo?Some girl who appears on Japanese snacks, I think? I don't really know.Combined formCombine!
Puyopuyo VirusEvil KomugisMoeee
I cannot stress the awesomeness of how Komugi defeats the Puyopuyo virii.
SweatdropSakura is mad.Bonus PointBona-su pointo.

Posted by Paranda at 1:34 AM | Comments (4)

October 13, 2005

More Wonder Momoi anticipation

Only 6 more days until Wonder Momoi is on sale. Here is a shot of the cover. WONDER-MOMO COSPLAY! BRILLIANT!
Wonder Momoi cover

Tracklist:
1. WONDER MOMO-I-NEW RECORDING-
2. ONCE UPON A TIME-FAIRY STORY-
3. WONDER MOMO-I-NEW RECORDING-
4. ONCE UPON A TIME-FAIRY STORY-

Posted by Paranda at 9:06 PM | Comments (0)

October 4, 2005

Wonder Momoi countdown

Halko MomoiHello friends. I am here again with some good Halko news. WONDER MOMOI release is only two weeks away. The cover art is still undecided, but we are fortunate enough to have something even better to satisfy our curiosity until release date. Despite not updating her website for over a month, Halko Momoi is still very much alive and still keeps fans up to date on her radio show instead. Last weekend on URAMOMOI, she gave us a preview of the upcoming single! I finally found some time today to check it out, and if you don't already listen to URAMOMOI then here is your chance to do the same:

WONDER MOMOI, Uramomoi version.

This song caused my brain to explode. This song exhibits what made me a Halko Momoi fan in the first place, before I even knew what she looked like or became entranced in her moe-moe mannerisms: the voice talent! She frigging changes modes mid-song and goes from one spectrum allll the way to the other. It's almost like there are two people singing. In fact, to someone who hasn't listened to her a lot they probably thought there WERE two different people singing. I was already on the edge of cracking when she starts going "rabu rabu momoi", but when she just shifts from hypercute and goes all opera-style near the end, I just lost it and started hooting. This single is gonna be good. So so good. ~Wowowowonder Momomomoi~

Posted by Paranda at 2:18 AM | Comments (2)

September 22, 2005

Komugi Z volume 2 now out

Yay. Random Momoi-Komugi cosplay picture party!
Komugi Cosplay 1Komugi Cosplay 2
Komugi Cosplay 3Komugi Cosplay 4
Komugi Cosplay 5Komugi Cosplay 6
This is a good week.

Posted by Paranda at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

September 13, 2005

TSUKUNE-CHANNNNNNNN

Tsukune-chan opening animation.
Because I just watched it, and I felt like making this gif.

Also, Momoi-san is getting lazy because Tsukune-chan sounds way too old at times. Compare with her Mii voicework in Popotan.

Posted by Paranda at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

September 9, 2005

Interesting Momoi fan art.

Good news, I fixed my computer. Now I can write more about Halko again on my site which nobody reads. Speaking of Halko, I went to the NYU Anime club meeting for the first time today, and out of the 8 or so people I questioned, 7 of them had no clue who she was. After some careful memory prodding, I had one of them recognize her as Maya from Ragnarok Online but other than that..no success(Yes, I attempted to casually slide it into conversation. Even I have enough common not to go up to some random guy and scream "HAY DO YOU KNOW UNDER17, IT ROX!"). Wow... so disillusioning. When is she gonna get famous??

Anyway, to the point of this post: http://nicopyonzoku.hp.infoseek.co.jp/
Momoi Haruko fanart! Well we all know it existed, because fanart exists of every single person or thing on earth..but I am posting especially about this site because the drawings are particularly cute and the art ideas are well executed. The drawings are sloppy, but I enjoy the Tondol Baby evolution depicition. Plus, it appears to be done in oekaki or MS Paint so that is always impressive. Mainly, I chose to write about it because this drawing is hilarious and I am now using it for my AIM buddy icon:
Momoi fan art

There are a few pics in all. Take care when browsing though, as the site does contain some questionable drawn loli content. I would avoid the gallery links on the bottom row.

Posted by Paranda at 11:21 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2005

"Akihabarabu" news

Akihabarabu Cover ArtIt's two days too late, but I figure I might as well update on it. Nakid badly needs to implement a mailing list so I know about these things ahead of time.

On August 29th, Nakid released CD/DVD packs of "Akihabarabu" which contained recordings of the Uchimizu event I wrote about earlier. "Akihabarabu," which is a play on words "Akihabara," the number-one Otaku district in Japan, and the "Love," was sold in extremely limited quantities on the first floor of the YamagiwaSoft shop for 1,980 yen each (holy crap that's cheap!). According to some Japanese blogs, you had to reserve a ticket to buy this with representatives on Nakid.jp first to even have a shot at buying it.

The CD single contains "Akihabarabu" in its original and karaoke version. The DVD contains 2 videos: A promotional video of the Uchimizu Taisaku Ikusa event, and a choreographed music video.

Since I entirely missed my chance of owning this in any way (I have no way of travelling to Japan anyway), and this will not be mass produced or sold in any other stores..I will be watching the P2P networks extremely closely for the following weeks in hopes that some kind soul will rip and upload this. Hopefully, I will be able to grab something and share with the rest of us American fans. This was how I managed to get my hands on the Da Capo secret concert in 04 with Momoi as Utamaru at least, so it's not entirely impossible.

In the mean time, good luck with your own Momoi hunting, and please please email me any additional details you may find about this release.

Posted by Paranda at 5:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2005

WONDER MOMOI

Today, I learned of Halko's brand new single WONDER MOMOI. Slated for release on October 19, it is yet another collaboration work between Momoi Halko and Manzo (they might as well stop beating around the bush and just officially form UNDER17 II together). The song is one of many for NAMCO's "Taiko no Tatsujin Tobikkiri! Animation Special" released earlier this month, from a series we english-speaking folk may recognize as "Taiko Drum Master!"

If you are looking to pre-order like I did, its catalogue number is COCC-15804. Happy Hunting. More details as they develop.

Posted by Paranda at 10:42 AM | Comments (1)

August 24, 2005

Majokko Tsukune-chan Vol.1 out

Well there's some good news today.

The disembodied floating head of Tsukune-chanFirst things first: Majokko Tsukune-chan, volume 1 of an intended 6, is now on sale. The magical girl gag OVA from XEBEC, directed by Hiro Sakurai, stars our favorite voice actress in the leading role: Cute little Tsukune-chan. Story synopsis pending.

Momoi is also involved in the creation of the OVA's ending theme, hilariously titled "Frying Machine." You may download the mp3 here. Fellow Halko fan Longhorn has a nice promotional PV up on his site, so you may want to check that out.

Read more about this series and others at Starchild's website

Second bit of good news: The Bottle Fairy PC game, which we all heard about way back in March 2004, is finally announced to be released on September 9th, 2005. In this game, you basically play the role of sensei-san and bring the fairies with you on your shoulder/in your bag/up your ass while you work on daily mundane things and go places. Before you lose all faith in humanity, let me remind you it is NOT an H-game so there is no need to weep in the corner at the thought of your beloved Chiriri/Hororo being violated with Q-tips or anything like that. Heh. Too bad it costs a fucking fortune, and there is not one mention of Tama-chan in the game details. We can only hope.

Posted by Paranda at 1:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2005

Practice with the pen tool

Having been too poor to buy and too paranoid/lazy to pirate Adobe Illustrator for personal use, I was thrilled to discover it pre-installed on my work machine a few days ago. Since it was a particularly slow week with very little work, I decided to have a go at vector tracing..something I've watched others do all the time but have never done myself. Now it was my turn.

And it was much harder than it looked. Apparently, Illustrator handles lines MUCH differently than Macromedia flash and I spent the majority of the time trying to figure out how to point anchors and pull directions exactly, instead of just dragging the line directly like I do in Flash. It was hell the first days, but eventually I started getting used to it. My first attempt was, mostly obviously, a trace of my favorite Momoi picture. I am not too satisfied with it, but I will try again with my next picture. I will probably also redo this image in the future when I actually become an expert with Illustrator. Eventually I hope to build up a nice collection of 1600x1200 vector wallpapers for personal use. Meanwhile, I shall make do with this.
Vectorized

Posted by Paranda at 1:39 AM | Comments (0)

August 8, 2005

Thugging out with DJ Momo-i

Ha. Before you kill me for that horrible horrible title, let me assure you: I am not being kidding. I offer this photo as evidence.
YO!
As you can see, she has been quite the busy bee lately. Clothingwise, I think I've seen more variety in her wardrobe these few months than during her entire three year run with UNDER17. Personally, if my ideal Momoi tried to go "hip," we'd see some cute knitted-cap action, but hay a baseball cap is almost as cool.

In these photos, "DJ Momo-i" is doing a show for Uchimizu Taisaku Ikusa 2005 in Akihabara. According to www.uchimizu.jp, uchimizu is an organized effort in Japan to combat global warming. Supposedly, when you get a lot of people to collect water and pour it onto the roads or whatever, you can make the summer heat go away. However, there is also music, cosplay, and anime involved. Why? Because in Akihabara, everything is an excuse to involve music, cosplay, and anime. Never ever hold a funeral there.

Heil! While I'm not sure what Momoi's exact role is in this whole festival (other than DJ, obviously), a quick blurb from nakid.jp tells us about some collaboration with Perfume to promote some anime. There is plenty of information on geek's blog about this whole thing, but sadly my comprehension is shit and I have no idea what he/she/they are saying. There are a LOT of nice pictures though (the pics I have here are just cropped versions of the huge full ones there), so it's worth browsing. For now, that's all that really matters. This event only took place hours ago, and hopefully I will have some more information about it in the following days as I read through that site a bit more thoroughly. Meanwhile, here is Momoi, oops sorry I mean "DJ Momo-i," saluting her loyal otaku drones.

Seeing those headphones wrapped around her ninja style is so funny. Now I want to see Momoi go full blown commando, complete with kevlar bodysuit and balaclava. At this rate, maybe one day I will. Meanwhile, I shall keep myself amused with this:

Unileg

XD. In other news, Sukumizu 2 just became available for pre-order. Release is slated for September 22, 2005. There is no cover art yet on any of the sites I've checked, but I will keep up the watch for english speaking Momoi fans out there :)

Posted by Paranda at 4:46 PM | Comments (0)

August 4, 2005

Komugi Magikarte Z, vol. 2 confirmed

Nurse Witch KomugiWe can all breathe easy now. After many months of waiting and worst-case-scenario speculation, I see that the release date is finally announced. Volume 2 of Komugi Magikarte Z, the sequel OVA series to the successful 5.5-episode "Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte," will be on sale September 22. The limited edition DVD will retail for 6090yen and contain a new episode, along with a booklet and CD as bonuses. It is possible that sneak a figure in too, considering they have done this in the past.

According to the official Komugi fansite, MugiMugi.com, the episode will be broadcasted first on AnimeTV on August 20th at midnight.

Both Komugi series, with characters taken from another popular anime called "The Soultaker," revolve around Komugi Nakahara, a young cosplay idol who is granted magical powers to transform into a fighting nurse/witch. They are complete departures from the "serious" mood of their parent anime, and instead opt for more ridiculous plot points and parodies. Episodes feature cosplay battles between Komugi, large-breasted maids, convention centers turned giant robots, 2ch ascii art, overweight anime producers gone pro-wrestling, and other similarly odd enemies. Notable voice talent include Halko Momoi (do I have to explain who she is?) as Komugi, Yuji Ueda (the guy who's in everything) as her fluffy sidekick, and Ikue Ohtani (She's Pikachu ya know?) as rival Koyori. The character designs are by Poyoyon Rock (Akio Watanabe), who had reportedly modeled Komugi specifically after Momoi.

Stateside, ADVFilms has licensed both Soultaker and Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte. Magikarte Z has yet to be picked up by any company here. Hopefully we will see some news soon. Meanwhile, I will be out another 60bux ;_;

Posted by Paranda at 1:09 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2005

Ton Dol Baby pics

Ton Dol Baby scans were uploaded on the Internet yesterday. I decided to grab them to take an early look at what I'll be getting in the mail shortly. I opened them eagerly with overflowing excitement, expecting to be completely blown away.

Well I was blown away, but not in the way I had expected.
What's going on in this picture?Something is not right. Hi-larious.
I certainly didn't expect this. LOL at keyboard guitar. Reminds me of someone else, but I can't remember who. Someone..

Oh baby.
Wow. I didn't realize that was a horrific mockup of "baby lingerie." Padded flowery bra and exposed midriff. ;-*

I'm on the fence about this one. I think I like the costumes, but they just seem so different from "the usual." My pro-Momoi bias will result in me giving me the thumbs up, although if someone else were to wear these I'd probably call them hideous. One absolute that hasn't changed though, is the awesome music. "Ton Dol Baby" full version is wonderful. "Eigo to Koi wa Umaku Naranai" also features highly enjoyable words. Glad I can find stability in that.

~How are you today? How do you do tonight?~ <3

Posted by Paranda at 7:16 AM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2005

Where is this image from?

Woah she looks so differentWhile checking out Momoi events today, I came across this page. It is an announcement about Momoi Halko and Kageyama Hironobu on stage for some event on August 3rd. I tend not to get pumped about these events or write much about them because they just make me depressed that I can't go. But this time, my interest was not caught on the event itself but actually the banner they used to advertise the thing. You can view the full banner on that page.

In all my years of Halko image collecting, I have never seen this pic, and I can't seem to identify where the hell it came from. I am missing some scans of booklets from her very old singles, but based on the hair/face this looks like a more recent shot so I doubt it's from there. I have seen that shot of Kageyama before though, so I know they pieced their banner together from old pics. I'm guessing it wasn't an exclusive photo shoot or anything like that. Now the question bugs me.. where did that image come from? It looks like poster quality, and if it is, I must track it down and buy it.

I will be looking for the full pic for a couple of days. Any help will be appreciated..or you can just gawk along with me and wonder. That is a nice pic after all.

Posted by Paranda at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)

July 12, 2005

New Songs

Gedou OP screenshotWith the airing of Akahori Gedou Hour Love Game, two brand new Momoi songs have surfaced. Well, one and a half. The opening theme, "Nesshou! Rabuge Night Fever," is performed by Love Pheromone & Gedou Otometai featuring Momoi Haruko, Kageyama Hironobu, and arranging credit to some other guy that I didn't bother to research. Momoi and Kageyama have worked together many times in the past and have covered famous anisongs together on the radio. This new song has recognizable traits from both of them, but especially recognizable is Momoi's trademark yelp, "~fuu~fuu," which appears in favorite songs such as "Ichigo Go! Go!," "Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie," and "Koko da yo." Unfortunately, this sound effect is not done by her in this particular song, and the result once again proves that if your name isn't Momoi Haruko, you should not attempt to make this sound. Download OP here. The single will come out on July 27th and will have the full version of the song. I like Neowing so I am going to pimp their site again, because they ship insanely fast and are cheaper than Amazon after you factor in shipping. Thanks Amazon.jp, for $20 "economy" shipping on $10 items.

The real show is not as cute as the OP-ED animations would have you believe.Do not despair however, because TV shows always have an opening AND an ending. In the same show, the ending theme is a Halko song featuring full blown cutey moe moe vocals. The arranger this time is none other than Manzo (also the arrange guy behind 'Hide and Seek' and 'Friendship'), who seems to be adapting very well to Momoi's style of music, as each of his newer songs with her gets better than the previous one. In fact, he is starting to carve out a style of his own instead of churning out carbon copies of old UNDER17 tracks. As much as we all miss Aniki, this guy is looking to be a pretty good replacement. This actually sounds like an original song while still maintaining the things that make Halko songs so good. Ton Dol Baby features cute melodies, cute vocals, and even cuter lyrics. "motto baby" Download ED here.

The full version of this also comes out July 27th on CD, so preorder your copy now. I'd love to get both OP and ED singles, but I am just so poor. If you have to choose, choose this one: it has more Halko.

hahahahahaOh, and another reason to buy this...the frigging cover! Jeez just look at it (click image for big). There are just so many "WTFs" on so many levels with that image that I absolutely have to get at the liner notes and see where it's going. There is bound to be more pictures inside..rattles and pacifiers are a possibility. It's so odd yet so funny. Why do I suddenly feel like a creepy fetishist? Order it. Yes I am getting it for the music, not the pictures. No really. Seriously. I am. Those pics just..uh..happen to be a bonus, you know..if there are going to be any.

Oh by the way, it's not the first time Momoi has dressed up in baby gear; bet you didn't know that. :O

Also, my images are randomly floating over my borders when there's not enough text so I have to add this filler crap to make sure that doesn't happen. This is probably due to my shoddy beginner level CSS, but what can I say? I'm sure there's a way to fix this with one line to my stylesheet, but that's for skilled people. I, on the other hand, happen to suck.

Posted by Paranda at 7:37 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2005

Keitai Hentai Musume

A strange video surfaces! It is titled "携帯変態娘", or "Keitai Hentai Musume." This translates roughly to..deviant cellphone girl? I have never seen this before. Let us watch with great interest..
Konnichiwa!
Oh wait a minute, is that Momoi? That does make sense. We all know how much Momoi loves phones. See her old ASCII column for proof of this. Ohhh she looks very pretty. Nice hair. Nice expression.
Is that a Digimon billboard in the back?
Apparently the phone is getting bad signal, and she is getting mad. But wait, the cellphone has quite a sassy attitude and is now talking back to its owner! Or rather, it is posing as a puppet while Halko does a hilariously bad voiceover talking to herself. Trust me, it is bad.
What a crazy cellphone.
The argument between the couple escalates, and the phone decides to run off.
A chase through the gift shop.
A high speed chase ensues. She looks like an 80s jpop idol in this shot. Noriko Sakai? Hey it sounds like they are playing "Digital Esper" in the background. This video must be very old (I'm guessing 2000-2001). No wonder she looks young. RUN LITTLE HALKO RUN!
Skipping in the rain
Unfortunately, our heroine apparently doesn't get much exercise and is quickly worn out. Here she is taking a quick break after zooming up some stairs.
Skipping in the rain
She finally catches up with the phone at the top of Tokyo Tower, and discovers it was low on batteries. Poor phone, it had been blamed for bad signal but it was really just running low on juice. She realizes this and resolves to be nicer to her phone. Here is a vanity shot of her skipping home in the rain. Yes, skipping.

In short, this cute little skit teaches us to be nice to our phones, because otherwise it might just run off and lead us on crazy chase through the city. They should make a 3D adventure game out of this. Credit goes to mandi for helping me make heads and tails of the dialogue.

Posted by Paranda at 10:50 PM | Comments (1)

July 9, 2005

Spotlight: UNDER17 cosplay

We've all seen cosplay of one sort or another. Usually the costumes are designed and worn by amateur hobbiests across the country, hoping to make their con appearance just a bit more interesting. They draw their inspiration from the outfits of anime and game characters, and sometimes the results are fantastic. This is one of those times, and it is so exceptional that I absolutely have to write about it.

UNDER17 cosplay!! Very good UNDER17 cosplay I might add. Only with Momoi do you have people who are more willing to cosplay HER instead of her characters (although I suppose her UNDER17 look is a character itself). It has certainly impressed me, and I can get pretty picky if you try to imitate my favorite singer in the whole world. Observe this comparison image:
Comparison pics

The pink dress is DEAD ON with the original that first appeared in the Kujibiki Unbalance single, complete with bulky white sneakers, gloves, and umbrella. This amazing work is credited to a ultrapro cosplayer from Japan, who also appeared as a katamari cousin at AX this year. Pretty cool Aria cosplay too, which happens to be one of my favorite manga. If you'd like to take a look, her website banner link is:
puriopuripanda
The UNDER17 costumes are on the diary pages May 05, November 04, and October 05. A cosplay community page with more pics is located here, but you must be a member to see full images.

Posted by Paranda at 11:25 PM | Comments (0)

July 2, 2005

Momoi now visibly middle age

And yet still exhibiting awesomeness. It's so..professional. Perhaps my title is an exaggeration, but check out this new look. Screenshots from interview aired June 14, 2005.
You know what's strange about this picture that's usually not found in other Momoi pictures? THAT'S RIGHT, EARS!
Seems kind of..Korean newscaster-like, if that makes any sense??

I like the clothes

This is not "old" looking, but it definitely represents an update in style and it is one step away from the bangs, sometimes braids, and crazy extensions she used to have. I always had a soft spot for helmet hair. Am I too attached to the past? I think so..I miss the bangs, yet I like the direction this is going. Maybe we will get Momoi trendsetter in a few years. She's already one to me <3.

Posted by Paranda at 12:52 AM | Comments (3)

June 30, 2005

More missed Momoi merchandise

DreamParty LIVE EX Special Maxi SingleSo, the DreamParty concert at YLMA went off without a hitch. I am currently searching all over to look for any pictures that may or may not exist. Nakid decided to pull an insane amount of goods out of their ass on short notice at the last moment, which I believe you can only buy from the event stands and had I known about these I'd have paid off Yuta to go buy me some crap beforehand. Why won't they wide-release? Oh god I wanted those lights and that shirt so bad.

I did manage to find the Live EX CD on P2P though, and it is pretty awesome. Now if only a respectable company that ships overseas would stock it.

Posted by Paranda at 7:47 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2005

Random Momoi Haruko News

It's been a while since I've updated on Halko happenings this month, so let's get started with a few items today. For the month of June...

Item 1: Momoi's website seems to be getting a design overhaul. If my understanding isn't completely off, the new version will be hosted on a different server (under the same domain name), and boasts her own handwritten HTML. Please correct me on this if I am wrong. Right now the page is a temporary placeholder. It's really cute how she is just ditching the old blog software and editing the news entries manually. Momoi also has a thing for hit counters, and even the makeshift temporary placeholder site does not disappoint in this. I guess that really just shows her old school style. In the 90's, everyone absolutely had to have a hit counter on their site. I remember doing the exact same thing with all my early geocities pages. The original website can still be found here, but is no longer maintained. For even earlier Momoi pages, you can use the Wayback machine.

Item 2: DreamParty OSAKA 2005 Spring concert is coming up in only 3 days. Initially, I always wrote off Dreamparty concerts as minor events, but after seeing some shots of DreamParty in Tokyo back in May, I've changed my mind. The events appear to be VERY Halko-centric. I am really looking forward to seeing pictures from this one, and still waiting for the DVD of the last concert. She always chooses the best outfits and sings in such a great voice. When other girls wear net like that, they look hideous. When Halko wears net, it's wholly different. Once again there is the magic. As robot touch from SA so accurately puts it, "The strange paradox is that, although I'm utterly retarded for Momoi's voice and how adorable it is, if some random girl in a shop or on the street started talking that way, I would punch her right in the neck. Right in it. Nobody has an excuse to talk that way."

DreamParty EX Shot:
WAAAAAAA CUTE
Stolen from geek

Item 3: It looks like they will be making another season of Ragnarok. Hopefully, we can see Momoi reprise her role of Maya. They BETTER include Maya. Clearly her relationship with Alice and that other half demon were the most interesting and strongest parts of the entire season. The other characters were all horribly weak. Roan was basically a dick, Iruga was so emo, and Yuufa had a massive and decidedly creepy oniisan complex. Maya made the show worth watching, although I may be biased.

Posted by Paranda at 10:53 PM

June 16, 2005

Angelrabbie PV finally in hand.

Come on, don't tell me that isn't the cutest outfit everAfter noticing a rather large spike in bandwidth usage this month, I decided to go check out the logs. Apparently, a particular site had been hotlinking my Koi no Milkyway PV videos. Although I would usually throw fits about hotlinking and such, when we are dealing with Halko my hostility towards these kinds of practices are overridden by curiosity and satisfaction (plus he was even nice enough to link back to me. Thanks guy); that another site exists that would host or even leech remotely UNDER17-related content..the more the better, and I chalked it up as another victory for the Halko fanclub. Yes, I realize I sound like a huge faggot.

Anyway, it turns out this was the best thing that could ever happen to me because today I followed the link and BEHOLD: Direct download of Tenbatsu Angel Rabbie PV (ZOMG SO HOT)! This particular one had escaped my eye in both Winny and Share, and now that I have obtained it my day has been made. I'd like to say once again, "Thanks Somdan you are pretty awesome."

http://ncity.net/~somdan/tt/index.php?page=1

Posted by Paranda at 11:36 PM | Comments (3)

June 1, 2005

Desktop Cutification

There is a criminally low(0) supply of good Momoi wallpapers out on the web today. Partially, this is due to shortage of good hi-res Momoi photographs in wallpaperish poses, and partially because Momoi has no artsy pretentious photoshop-happy teenage fans to make them for her. There didn't appear to be any solution in sight. I had even taken it upon myself to create several "test" wallpapers, but in order to squeeze space for icons or remove background clutter I had to make several painful crops and edits. The end results failed so spectacularly that they managed to make Momoi uncute, a task previously thought to be impossible. Soon I had given up on having good Halko wallpaper, and settled on letting Habanero-tan grace my screen.

A week ago, my wallpaper woes were finally taken care of. The solution presented itself, when I had the opportunity to request a piece of art. Thinking back to Momoi, I realized it was the chance to finally get a nice Momoi wallpaper. My entire thought process had been wrong in trying to force a photo to turn into a wallpaper. If there were no photos of Momoi suitable for a good wallpaper, why not make one from scratch? It just so happened that mandichan was insanely talented with cute SD caricatures. So, I requested a drawn Momoi wallpaper. Yesterday I saw the results. The outfit is based off the real costume, as shown side by side.
Super cute vectored Momoi wallpaperWhat a pretty outfit
An excellent background for a desktop, don't you think?

My special thanks goes to mandichan for the unbelievably awesome artwork and for being nice and taking the request while putting up with my constant idling, surprise AFKs, and general unresponsiveness on AIM.

Posted by Paranda at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)

May 19, 2005

Gekiten Appreciation

Summer is a time for relaxing, camping, swimming, fishing, and general fun in the sun. Or so everyone else says, but I say summer is a time to finally go home, get away from the restrictive ports blocking of the evil Campus Firewall, fire up Share, and download everything you've missed during the year until Optimum Online freaks out and cuts you off (Apparently, their policy for internet use is: NO UPLOADING OR DOWNLOADING ALLOWED. I should have stuck with Verizon.)

Today, I did a bit of time travelling by grabbing a really old episode of Gekiten. Aired January 15th 2004, this episode features guest Momoi Haruko promoting the then new Nurse Witch Komugi-chan Magikarte 5. I wish we had these kind of shows in the US.

Screenshots follow:

Maria Yamamoto (left) is pretty cute.
Hello girls.

But Halko is still cuter.
She's cute isn't she?

I bet that guy in the back feels left out.
What a happy family.

NAASU??
What's nurse, precious?

Posted by Paranda at 6:55 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2005

Let me love you

School Days Vocal AlbumAbout two weeks ago, I came across a very strange Momoi song called "Let me love you." Its strangeness comes from the style of the song which, as any dedicated fan may realize after listening, is a little different from anything she's ever done before. This song does not sound like Momoi. Where normally there should be hyper cries of "chu chu" and an onslaught of really addicting guitar riffs and electronic sounds, we find instead soft soothing vocals set against gentle acoustics.

Although Momoi has a long and varied career, her music has always maintained a certain flavor. Whether she was UNDER17 or Poly-Phonic or Virtualian-co, her lyrics were often sugar-coated with girly innocence (Magi-cu), geeky references (GURA GURA), or general insanity (Ichigo Go!Go!); her voice was always cute; her tunes were always horrifically ear-bleedingly addictive. While some songs, like as "Figure ni Naritai" and "Kotae," broke this traditional formula, in them you could find influences of her unique style. The general rule was, "You can always know a Halko song when you hear one."

This was not one of those songs. Here, I found myself listening to it several times on loop and still wondering to myself, "Did Momoi really sing this?" Here, I found a serious attempt at a conventional love song. Momoi's old music had carved such a distinct impression on me that I was unable to adapt to change. But, if there were any song that could break the pigeonhole, this was it. I found myself enjoying it more and more, and now it is one of my favorite songs.

Yesterday, I finally discovered the origins of this song. It came from School Days Vocal Album which was released in late April (thank goodness for ero-games and their demand for character music). This was a new song, a display of her excellent vocal range, and possibly a hint of things to come. It is fun to think what could have happened if Momoi stuck it out singing standard Jpop back in 97 and never moved on to moesongs. Then perhaps all of her songs would sound like this. However, objectively speaking, this song is not really special and it sounds like every other love song out there. The catch is that it is Momoi, and thus the appreciation is boosted knowing that it is so different from the old. For her, it is fresh and groundbreaking. I like this song, because through it, I witness Momoi's evolution. It's always nice to see something like that...

Sparingly though. She still needs to stick to the cute stuff: I like that best.

Let me love you.ogg

Posted by Paranda at 11:16 PM | Comments (3)

May 2, 2005

ironic

More adventures in Winny (because Share sux and doesn't work)! This time I have grabbed a copy of Ironic, which is a song I have been looking all over for since May of last year. It does not disappoint.

No, not Alanis Morissette. Poly-Phonic.
Let me tell you...Momoi armed with a vocoder...that just blows my mind.
Also, last night's Uramomoi was pretty funny.

You know I should really really be studying for exams right now.

Posted by Paranda at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)

April 29, 2005

Momoi butchers classic anisongs

momoiradio.jpgPicked up 4 episodes of Uramomoi, a new weekly radio show that Halko hosts late at night. Although it's not as feature-packed or organized as KOTOKO's show on Air-G, it's still very cute and has many funny moments. She answers fan mail, takes requests for songs (and she's pretty damn good, if she's really improvising all those requests on the spot), and talks about the various things going on in her career. I suggest all other Momoi fans to make an effort to catch at least one episode. Even if you can't understand a word, you'll find yourself enjoying it.

Not convinced?
We are living, living in the eighties
We still fight, fighting in the eighties

Posted by Paranda at 7:44 PM | Comments (1)

April 28, 2005

Koi no Milkyway

Today I was sent an incredibly awesome and very rare file: an old UNDER17 promotional video produced by Nakid! It is by far the cutest music video I have ever seen (the song is called "Koi no Milkyway"). There are just so many things that are perfect about this video: the bewildered anime nerd, the body pillow, the absolutely over-the-top false enthusiasm and subtle insanity in Momoi's smile...ah it's all just too great. Words cannot describe the coolness of this thing..you'll just have to see for yourself. Temporary Download Link.

momoiyay.jpg
I love this woman.

Posted by Paranda at 2:14 PM | Comments (1)