A-Pop Wrap-up: Melon Kinenbi To Split, Kara Debuts in Japan, AKB’s PB and YJ Teams Explained

And now that post where I mumble about Asian girl-pop subjects that are important to me ~_^

Melon Kinenbi Releases New PV and News of Split
Melon Kinenbi is a Japanese girl-pop group formerly under the Hello!Project umbrella that’s been around for 10 years or so and somehow has managed a following. I personally haven’t found any of their tunes thrilling (except for the mass-H!P collab, All For One & One For All), although one or two of them are pretty cute. Especially unthrilling is their latest promotional video release, Sweet Suicide Summer Story (below), a collab song with the un/help of Midori, that I would describe as discordant, off-key, wavering, atonal, and a bit of standard plain-ol’ plain-ol’ mixed in. I’d rather they didn’t end on such a sour note, especially as it has just been recently announced they’re splitting up after all these years. Honestly, I’m not happy (or unhappy either) they’re going their own ways, but couldn’t say with a straight face that their departure was expected or might be easy. Hello-Online has more details about the upcoming breakup.

Japanese DJs Discuss and Promote Kara’s Japan Debut
Kara, my current favorite Asian-pop (Korean) group, is supposedly the first asian girl-pop group from Korea to actually play in Japan, according to a Japanese DJ who is absolutely nuts about Kara. In a two-part translated TVrip (part 1, part 2) he (Gekidan Hitori) and former Morning Musume idol Mari Yaguchi yammer about how he’s even bothered to purchase albums with his own wages and give them away on the air as a way to promote them (in a sense) on his own and seems to have played a role in getting them to appear in Japan, plus how he thinks Kara will be able to leap ahead of the higher-budget Girls’ Generation (SNSD) rather than had they allowed SNSD to debut there first and merely appear to copycat them. Another pair of DJs talk about the phenomenon in this segment (translated) and mention that there seems to be a discrepancy between whether Kara will be marketed as musicians in Japan (and instead as idols).. Kinda an insult in some ways, but whatever works I guess ^_~

Hidori had earlier appeared in December 2009 on Arashi Homework (here translated) explaining who Kara is, who some of the members are, and refused to say who his favorite member was. The guys on the show teased him about it quite a bit, but all in good fun. Kara even sent Hidori a video greeting that didn’t have subtitles but when he heard his name, he almost began to cry. I think I know how he feels ^_~

Later, he was filmed attending the actual Japan debut as a regular fan (here and is shown singing along. The arena it was held in appears pretty packed, so their debut’s success is a delight to my ears.

Kara’s mini-album sales are reportedly #1 lately in Korea (according to this and that), even before releasing their music video which is due out this Monday. Can’t wait!

What’s up with AKB48 turning into Team PB and Team YJ?
With the release of AKB48’s latest single/PV, included were two other videos featuring Team PB and Team YJ. There’s a Stage48 post explaining the reason for that (here) — a handful of girls have partnered in some way with celebrity-photo magazine Weekly Playboy (nothing like the American adult magazine) and manga mini-book publication Young Jump to create two competing mini-groups that each sing their own song written by the same clever gent responsible for SS501’s U R Man hit, whereby readers will get to vote each week for their favorite member between the two and the tallied votes will mean overall points for each time to decide a winner who gets a gravure photoshoot as a prize, and perhaps another surprise mystery prize on top of that.

The team breakdown is as follows: Team PB: Kashiwagi Yuki, Miyazawa Sae, Miyazaki Miho, Oota Aika, Nito Moeno, Takajo Aki, and Maeda Ami; Team YJ: Kasai Tomomi, Kitahara Rie, Nakagawa Haruka, Minegishi Minami, Sashihara Rino, Kuramochi Asuka, and Kikuchi Ayaka. Personally, my support is for YJ as a team depending on how the pair-ups are placed, because there are certain choices from PB that I would vote for whoever is against her just out of principle ;D

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