Monday, June 11, 2007

PUFFY Update - and More!

Note that this post originally appeared on my more general personal blog. So keep that in mind if some of the context seems a little strange.

I've been checking my stats, and it really does seem like there's a huge demand out there for info on my favorite Japanese rock/pop duo PUFFY (as in AmiYumi). Lots of you come here looking for PUFFY news - including some repeat visitors - and you land on one of my few (six, at current count) blog posts dedicated to them. I really wish I could give you guys more stuff to read more often! I can at least tell you that they're currently in the studio recording an album, are also currently on tour (Japan's small enough that you can do both at once), and that their new single "boom boom beat" will be released in Japan on July 18.

But I'm probably never gonna have a comprehensive fan site. I don't even really want to try, because the fact is I'll never have a site as good as some of the other sites already out there. I do something a little different - I take one album or one DVD or one concert and I give it all the attention it needs, until I've exhausted everything there is to write about it. But if what you want is just the latest news, maybe a wallpaper for your desktop, some photos or whatever, here are some places to visit:

PEACE. POP. PUFFY. - this guy's doing some great work, and probably has the best all-around English-language fan site at the moment. He's got news, show reports, DVD reviews (with screenshots), info on their TV appearances, and other miscellaneous stuff. And his site's really well-designed, which makes it really easy to stick around and browse through everything he's got.

PUFFYAMIYUMIWORLD - another great fan site. Lots of stuff here too, including all the latest news, some larger screenshots from their DVD's, a biography and info on all their music. It's another pretty new site, but it's bulking up with content pretty nicely.

Between the two sites above, you probably really don't even need any other English-language fan sites. But you definitely want to check out their official sites too, even if you need to translate some of the text (you can use Excite, or babelfish, or whatever you want):

PUFFY OFFICIAL JAPANESE WEB SITE - All the news re-printed on English fan sites generally comes from here. The site is updated often with all the latest news on PUFFY's current tour status, new recordings, etc. Periodically, PUFFY will record a special video message (look in the "special" section) and other videos will appear there as well, along with wallpapers and whatever else they feel like making. There's also a complete discography. Some of the sections can't really be used outside of Japan (mail "servise", mobile) but be sure you read and translate the "Staff Diary" - it was dormant for a while but it's now being updated again almost daily.

PUFFY AMIYUMI OFFICIAL ENGLISH WEB SITE - The English counterpart to their Japanese web site. Not updated nearly as often and a little haphazard in its design, it's also looking a bit stale - but they've recently started working on it again. There's a new video message from Ami and Yumi that I like to think I might have had something to do with (more on that in a sec). They also just posted info on "HIT&FUN" even though it's only out in Japan - and it looks kind of funny seeing how they call that out on the site. Maybe most importantly, though, this is the only site I know of that allows English-language fans to send a direct message to PUFFY, through the "Message Board" link. Yumi herself said in an interview with Tofu Records that they do read those messages - and it was there that I asked them to throw their English-language fans a bone and let us know what they're up to. Shortly afterwards, their new video message appeared.

NETSCOPE AMIGATOR - This is Ami's own blog. Yes, it's actually her writing most of the posts, and her writing style is pretty unique. It often doesn't translate very well using a web translator - her Japanese is pretty non-standard, and she uses a lot of slang (some of which she makes up herself). Her posts are also sometimes intentionally cryptic, but often funny. It's worth making the effort to translate, though; she also knows how to self-promote, so she breaks a lot of PUFFY news through that blog. That's where I first learned they were in the studio recording a new album, for example, before the official site posted the news.

Yumi had her own blog that looked almost exactly the same - it was blue instead of pink - but she hasn't updated it since 2004 and it looks like it's down now. She does occasionally write in Ami's blog and from what I gather, in the staff diary on their official site as well.

Surf all of those sites and you should easily be able to find out exactly what they're up to at any given moment. Meanwhile, I'll keep doing what I do, writing more in-depth reviews, show reports and features on them for my blog's little PUFFY section. Look for more of those as time goes on. I do plan on even going back and "retroviewing" some of their DVD's... but I need to get hold of some of their Japanese concert DVD's first. They're all out of print now with the exception of TOUR! PUFFY! TOUR! 10, so it's tough - if any of you have any that you'd like to sell, let me know! (UPDATE: I've got "Spike Daisakusen" on the way to me now - so watch for a retroview soon!)

By the way, you'll notice I mentioned Tofu Records but didn't link to them until now - click there and you'll see why. If anybody knows what's up with them, leave a comment here - they seem to have basically disappeared off the face of the Earth in the past few months. Will we ever get another PUFFY release in the States? Who knows at this point?