Monday, January 26, 2009

Lavshuca Spring Collection

Kanebo/Lavshuca has updated their web site with a slew of new Puffy images.

This actually probably isn't one of them - I think this is from the last update. But who cares? It's a great photo, even if it is so heavily Photoshopped that it's practically an illustration. (As all of Lavshuca's photos of them basically seem to be.)

This is definitely new:

Wig or haircut?

Lavshuca's site is here.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Cover Album Announced

Well, this is honestly a little disappointing.

Cover album
2009.3.25 In Stores!!
KSCL 1371 / 3,059 YEN(tax incl.)

Supposedly a collection of apparently previously recorded tracks like "Basket Case", "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", etc. They are still in the studio, so maybe there will be some new ones too.

Still, another cover album is not really what I think most of us were hoping to hear. (The Hit Parade is only third from the bottom of my Puffy album rankings.) They'll have released three original singles in the past few months, with the newest being written by a pretty major Japanese artist. I still have to believe that there's a real album on the way and that this is just a stopgap. Maybe we'll get two Puffy albums in the same year?

Hiyori Hime Single Cover

As promised, a larger image of the Hiyori Hime single cover:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Ami/Yumi solo, a newish interview, and a lost TV commercial

TofuUnion found some great recent Puffy videos on YouTube that I hadn't seen before. I admit I don't do daily Puffy searches there, but I do look around quite often, so I think these are probably worth re-posting - if I hadn't seen them, I doubt I'm the only one.

This is my favorite - Ami playing "Always Dreamin' About You" and Yumi playing "Watashi no Nozomi", both solo:

I'm a sucker for seeing them actually play their instruments. I know they can, they just either never seem to want to, or more likely are encouraged not to. And it's super-rare to actually see video of them playing solo like this. Apparently this is from the "2001: a halfway of space odyssey" concert.

Here's a recent interview from DokoGaTV, which is not something I'd heard of but is apparently a Hawaiian TV station that also now broadcasts in Japan:

It's not the greatest interview, honestly - it feels like something that should have happened in conjunction with the "Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi" show launch. It feels like they're past all this. He does ask one question about honeycreeper, but it's a question any of their fans would already know the answer to. I really wonder who this interview is intended for.

But it's still interesting only in that it's subtitled for an American audience. It's not often these days that we get to see newly translated interviews with them.

And lastly, a 1 minute commercial for cooking oil. I know exactly when this is from - it was this campaign, so 2005/2006. But I've never seen this full-length ad - you don't see these a lot on Japanese TV, where the ads usually come at you rapid fire.

I'm amused at the fact that when Ami flips the food up in the air, it clearly comes down all over the place despite the editor's valiant attempt at obscuring it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hiyori Hime Promotional Video!

Here it is:

My first reaction is, "holy hell, they got themselves a budget!" Now we know why their last few videos looked like they were financed through Ami's daughter's paper route - apparently they were saving up for the big one.

Ok, probably not really - and I wonder why they suddenly have such obvious cash to spend. Is it for Shiina Ringo, who wrote and produced the song? After all, she's one of Japan's biggest stars. Not to say Puffy don't deserve it - I wish they had a big budget for all of their videos. But the difference between this and, say, "My Story" is pretty stark.

It is a great video, though, so I'm not complaining. Both girls look amazing in it.

I'm going to need to listen to the song itself a few more times to form an opinion on that. I'm actually pretty new to Shiina Ringo, and while I love the two albums that I have, I honestly have never heard a song written by her that sounded good being sung by someone else. (That list is not very exhaustive, though. Tokio and Utada Hikaru are about the extent of it, in addition now to Puffy.) Her voice is just so distinctive, and at least at her best is just so filled with emotion, that I think it's really listening to her that makes so much of her music so good.

One immediate thing I don't like is the mix. I feel this way about a lot of Puffy's recent stuff - the guitars are just too low in the mix, the vocals too high. This was supposedly produced by Shiina Ringo in addition to being written by her, but her own stuff is not mixed like this (at least not her early stuff; I haven't heard a lot of the later albums with Tokyo Jihen). It makes the song sound a little wimpy.

But I will listen again, and maybe I'll form a different opinion (or just get used to the mix).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Catchup Roundup

With the holidays and now a certain film festival coming up that I'm involved in through work, I haven't had a lot of time to post here lately. So, I'm still planning on a New Year's thingy in a day or two (happy New Year!), but until then, here's a little rundown of some of the things I've neglected to this point (and apologies if you've seen them already):
  • Yumi's band CQA has begun selling a "fukubukuro" bag on their web site for 6,000 yen. Fukubukuro are usually "mystery bags" with a bunch of random stuff, although CQA tell you exactly what you're getting. It seems to be a pretty good deal, with two t-shirts, a beach towel, a keychain, a sticker, and a couple other little things (basically everything in their "merch" section except the bag, I think - unless that's the bag it comes in). I desperately want one, but they only take yen in cash. This is common in Japan.

  • Ami and Yumi have recorded a new "Special" message for the new year. It seems to be wishing a happy new year and then running off some resolutions, for the most part. They talk about being lazy, eating too much, gaining weight over the holidays and putting off work until February.

    Props to them for finally switching to Flash video. At least it's platform agnostic.

  • The official site has also been updated with a tiny little thumbnail version of the actual cover for the "Hiyori Hime" single. Not sure yet if it's the limited or regular version. Cute!

  • The "Tsukimekuri" 2009 calendar sold out. So they made more, and it sold out again! Seriously, the quantities we're talking here must have been severely limited.

  • I'm not seeing any notice on the official site, but Ami and Yumi appear to have been in JILLE magazine. You can see the photos at the Sumairu Puffy site.

  • It's taken me long enough, but I finally got my issue of Soup CRUiSE.

    This magazine kinda sucks. Pretty conservative fashion for 30-somethings. I want to see them in KERA! (I guess they're a little too mature for it these days.)

Well, I think that's all the major stuff. I'm still looking around for a full-size version of the single cover, and I've still got my new year's post to do, so watch for that soon.