During stay in the Ikebukuro hotel, I stayed up almost every night just to watch TV. Unlike Singapore, Tokyo already has multiple HD channels, and are showing even variety shows in high definition, not to mention DVD quality anime shows. Although the hotel didn't have a lot of options in terms of cable, I was still immersed in channel surfing through the various digital and normal bands. Surprisingly, you can still watch re-runs of old school shows, such as Dragonball Z and Mirror man late at night. I got the chance to see another Tokusatsu show this year, when I woke up early Sunday morning to catch Jyuken Sentai Gekirangers live on TV. 2 years ago, I got to see Ultraman Nexus, and then Kamen Rider Kabuto last year. And to complete the HD experience, I watched the latest episode of Cutey Honey: The Live at 1am during one of the nights.
I bought 2 Kamen Rider Den-O candy toys at the Toys'r'us at Odaiba. Although cheap, these henshin devices pack a punch, by including push buttons with actual sounds from the show. The past few seasons of Kamen Rider and Sentai have all been very gimmicky, trying to push the sales of toys, figures, etc through henshin devices and other products. Kamen Rider Den-O is a very good example, and almost every character has something readily to be made into toys. Check out this video of the 2 candy tous I took at the hotel. Also check out this video I ran into on Youtube. This Japanese kid's obviously a fan of Gekirangers, spotting the GekiRed mask and also the henshin device. And it's in this type of situation that you'd hope he's wearing a helmet instead of a mask. Hope he's fine, and he'll grow up to be a fine Gekiranger in the future :pI've barely opened up my Morning Musume 10th Anniversary album I bought in Japan. Maybe it's because I've already owned most of the singles anyway. But I did pop the DVD into my player and checked out the various interviews with the current and past members. Their new single, Mikan (みかん) have just been released, so check out the PV here:
On other H!P news, ex-morning musume member Goto Maki has left H!P and also the music industry. During the last concert of her G-EmotionII ~How to Use Sexy~ tour, Goto suddenly announced to fans that she would be graduating from Hello! Project, though she was also leaving UpFront Agency completely. Her graduation was said to be that she was overworked and overly stressed, causing her health problems. She also had different ideas of the direction of her career than what her agency had planned.
Apart from the few main core groups from H!P such as Morning Musume, GAM, and Berryz Koubou, a new group known as °C-ute is now making the headlines as well as waves in Japan. Also from the Hello! Project family, these (very) young girls are the new faces introduced to us by producer Tsunku, who writes and produces almost all the H!P songs. Their first single was only released this year, but they are fast gaining popularity in Japan. In fact, their song Tokaikko Junjō (都会っ子 純情) is currently in the top 10 and was playing on the big screen in Shibuya when I was there. Though young, these girls will break out into the Morning Musume tier in years to come. Check out their latest single (which I'm currently hooked on and think is great, particularly the chorous part) here:
Having finished watching Bokurano, I'm starting on yet another anime series called Ghost Hound (神霊狩). The series is set in the modest town of Suiten, located in a remote mountain region in the island of Kyūshū, and follows three boys who have each had traumatic encounters in their childhood and learn to transfer their souls into a parallel world known as the "Unseen World". The Unseen World is however undergoing a change, with its ghosts starting to appear in the real world, which is therefore also being subject to changes. This show is created by Production I.G. and Shirow Masamune, noted for being the creator of the Ghost in the Shell series. I've not really started yet, but it sounds really promising and I'll be keeping an eye on this one.
Mini-update this week as I'm currently doing some other design stuff. On the note of the Japan photos, both me and Mabel have already uploaded the albums to our respective Facebook albums. Do add us if you haven't already. Thanks and ja!