Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Year-end Wrapup - looking back on 2008's predictions

Back in early January, I made a series of predictions for what we'd be seeing from Puffy in the new year. Much as I'd probably like to forget some of them, I thought it'd be fun for you guys, at least, to look back and see how accurate I was. It's mid-December, so I strongly doubt you'll be hearing any major new announcements from Puffy until next year. (Of course, I have been wrong before, as you'll soon see!)

I labeled these "safe bets", "flip a coin" and "long odds" - obviously in order of most to least likely.

Let's break it down:

Safe Bets
  • Honeycreeper gets a US release. Nope! I call shenanigans on this one, though - it's not my fault. They announced it. Ami told us herself at the US shows. Epic Records sent out an email. Their publicity agency sent out a PR blast. It was all over the place. It was official.

    What the hell happened? Your guess is as good as mine. I blame the economy. Or George Bush.

  • A new PUFFY CD single release in Japan - and a song not from honeycreeper. Yup. Two of them - "All Because of You" and "My Story", with another - "Hiyori Hime" - announced for early next year.

  • New commercial endorsements. Yup. New endorsements and ads featuring their music from Kagome and MOW. Also, technically "new" but really more "back to the future", Yamaha re-signed with Puffy for a new promo for their Vox and Vino, an endorsement deal Puffy had in their early years.

Category prediction batting average: .666 (oOOoOOOoo!), but with an asterisk. It should have been 1.000.

Flip a Coin

  • Honeycreeper scores a US hit. I kinda lose by default on that one, eh?

  • Some sort of major DVD release. Well, I was half right on this. I think when all is said and done, you'll be able to call the Honeysweeper tour DVD being given as a limited edition single bonus a "major release", given that I think we'll see the whole show come out eventually. Not all this year at this point, though, obviously.

  • PUFFY will do a return US tour, this time covering the East, or even the entire country. Well, this is why I called it "flip a coin", you know. Kinda depended on getting honeycreeper out here, as so many of these predictions did.

  • One or more members of their current, "temporary" touring band will become permanent, replacing long-standing band members. I said in the original post that this would be a tough call to make, and it is - especially since Puffy hasn't had a major tour or album since I wrote that post. However, their "TV" band, at least, has been pretty stable, and their touring band has often featured Kawanishi from Jetki on drums, replacing the increasingly busy Takashi Furuta. Impossible to know if this is really permanent, though, or if they even really have a "permanent" band anymore - especially as their touring band and TV band is often different.

    I did say I'd like to see Enapou (née Enazou) full time, and she has appeared on pretty much all of Puffy's "live" TV appearances, but did not play in the actual live band during 2008.

Category prediction batting average: I'm gonna give myself .250 on this category (half right each on two of four). Which is significantly worse than flipping a coin :)

Long Odds

  • Ami and Yumi join Facebook. Ha! No, at least not officially. But they are updating their MySpace page again, which had been left to rot for some time. So that's something, at least.

  • A new album in 2008. Oh, so close! Puffy themselves have talked about a new album and have released a steady stream of singles, but it looks at this point as if we'll have to wait until 2009.

  • PUFFY will begin producing their own albums. Incomplete on this one - no way to know yet. As doubtful as ever, though, especially as they have not self-produced any of the recent singles (which will likely appear on the album when it does come).

  • A PUFFY breakup. Thankfully no. But their financial situation is obviously not what it once was, so there will always be a chance that either they or their record label will decide it's all no longer worth it. Even then, though, they may still exist as Puffy, just not as a band. They're still fashion icons for thirtysomething women in Japan, and they're friends, so why not?

  • Yumi gets hitched. Nope. There were rumors, but they don't seem to have materialized. All you single guys still have a chance!

  • PUFFY gets another TV show. Nope. Though Yumi has hosted various shows by herself, including Girl Pop Factory 08.

Category prediction batting average: .000. Now them are some long odds!

I'll do this again at the end of this month - I've already got some more predictions I'm mulling in my head. Maybe I'll do a little better next year!


  1. so you think "my story" and the new single will be on the eventual album? i love "my story" but didn't want to purchase it if it was going to be on the full length album i would eventually buy.

    "But their financial situation is obviously not what it once was, so there will always be a chance that either they or their record label will decide it's all no longer worth it."

    are they not as popular in japan as they once were? i have no idea. all i know is i love them and wish they would come here more. i can't imagine them waning in popularity when they've only gotten better and better (it's a crime that honeycreeper didn't get a us release).

  2. I can't think of a single they've done that *didn't* end up on the following album. I guess you could say "Hazumu Rizumu" never ended up on a real album, but it did end up on "Hit & Fun", the greatest hits album, which was still the album following its release.

    are they not as popular in japan as they once were?

    Unfortunately no, see this post (sorry, can't actually link in comments, just copy and paste it): http://amiyumidas.blogspot.com/2008/06/puffy-sales-numbers.html

    They were kind of a fad initially, it was inevitable that they'd drop off. It's surprising that they've been around so long given the type of musical act they are. They're hanging in there, but it's pretty obvious with videos like "My Story" that their budget is not as big as it was 10 years ago.

    If I'd started this blog in 1996, I would not have been able to keep up with all they were doing, I'd have needed an intern or something to help. They were in really high demand at that time.

  3. btw, not to say they don't have fans in Japan, they do! Don't get the wrong idea. But they're not as well known for their music anymore as for the other things they do (like the fashion spreads, the hosting, the commercials, etc.)

  4. It's safe to say that they've declined as music stars in Japan, but are still very potent spokesmodels and entertainers. If their record sales and tour receipts slump to the point that Sony drops them, I could still see them appearing together in commercials and fashion shoots and doing the occasional single. Yumi's got her other band (which needs to release some songs, please) and acting career, and I couldn't conceive of Ami not going solo in such a situation-- she's fucking punk rock, she'd tough it out. If nothing else, they'd still be surefire bets for the summer festival circuit, even if 80% of the crowds just wait patiently for "Asia no Junshin".

    I am bummed that Honeycreeper didn't make it across the pacific. It's probably too late at this point, if they kickstart stateside promotion again (which I hope they do) it'll likely be with their next release. Definitely a shame-- I don't think the record had a top-40 caliber hit, but IMO "Closet Full of Love" could have cracked the Billboard hot 100, which would still have been a coup.

    At any rate, I hope they come back stateside at least once more. I saw them on a whim in 2002 in Boston and it was a great show, have followed them ever since.

  5. Shouldn't your percentage on 'safe bets' be .667? Better than 666!

  6. I knew somebody would mention that... thought about fixing it, but I kinda like it as .666 :)

  7. I dont think that Sony will ever drop Puffy because there are many other bands and artists with Sony who have worse record sales than Puffy. But then again it would be interesting to hear them on an indie label because then they would have more freedom but I think Puffy are happy with what they're doing at Sony atm and probably dont have enough free time to dedicate it all to their music, recording and writing the occasional song seems to already consume a lot of their time :D

  8. I had always a feeling the new album wouldn't be released this year

    "I couldn't conceive of Ami not going solo in such a situation"
    I keep imagining if Hanoi Sex comes back...it's been over 20 years since it was formed...should be a nice reunion or a complete fiasco hehehe xD

    about that post about puffy sales numbers:
    man! ABOY was the biggest flop! Even Hazumu Rizumu (really boring song) sold more! o__o
    as I'm saying, Hiyori Hime and the new album have to be their bests 'till now, and sell as much as Kore ga Watashi no Ikiru Michi and Jet CD... =/