Monday, July 20, 2020

Puffy's Song on the Gaki no Tsukai Annual Batsu "Don't Laugh" Extravaganza

The annual Gaki no Tsukai ended January first and for us who don't really speak Japanese the translation by Team Gaki was completed this past week. 

For those that do not knwo what I am talking about the annual batsu game, Don't Laugh puts the cast of Gaki no Tsukai into a job/theme for a day.  They must not laugh for the day, if they do then they will be punished.  The producers do an amazing job setting up gags and skits to make them laugh.  In all of this is a slew of Japanese actors, comics, musicians and celebrities making appearances in those skits.

Image courtesy of NHK / Gaki no Tsukai

Gaki no Tsukai is an amazing show on a weekly basis, but they pull out all the stops for the annual special  This year was really good with the Youth High School batsu.  It was a good combination of running gags and some new ones. The theme we saw early in the 2000s, which is arguably their one of their best NYE specials.  Anyways this year's special was remarkable and rumored to be the last, so it was neat seeing Puffy do the end song, which may be the biggest act to do it.

I was hoping for an original song recapping the batsu game, which I recall being pretty standard.  But nope it was "Kore ga Watashi no Ikiru Michi" with new lyrics recapping the special.  It is neat to see Puffy on a bigger stage than they usually get these days (probably 10-20% of Japan was watching*). 

But... and this is probably not a popular take... it was not great.  I think some of the issue may have been translation which didn't feel as tight as the rest of the show.  Maybe this is because translating lyrics is different.  Also the vocal delivery was not super energetic, which I could apply to a lot of what Puffy has done in recent years.  They just don't blow the doors off. 

Long story short, it was fun enough and I am glad Ami and Yumi get some serious TV time.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Loading Up For 2020 with a Asahi Clear Advert

It is good to see that Puffy looks to have an active year ahead of them.  Various festivals and other performances.  No sign of anything resembling a new album, which is frustrating as their last album was the fantastic "Thank You."

Anyways they have a new song for Asahi Clear.

Nothing earth shattering here, it sounds like a Puffy song made for a commercial.  Of course we are not hearing the whole song, but it is on brand so to speak.  There are two adverts in this campaign, this one I liked better than the other.  You can see more about the Asahi Clear ad campaign here.

Said this before and I'll say it again. the frustration here is if you add up all the side work and one off singles Ami and Yumi have done since "Thank You," they could handily spin up an album.  Some of this may be entirely out of their control, depends on who owns all the music as they shifted labels (they do remain represented by SMA which can be confusing) and commercials might introduce other complexities.

While it looks like 2020 has a lot on the calendar for Puffy, they have talked about ending their run this year so it will be curious to see if they hold to that or that was idle speculation their part.  My take is it seems like they do just enough to keep going.

Also a side note, I think they are a dark horse for the 2020 Tokyo Opening Ceremonies given they are one of a handful of Japanese acts to have a significant international following.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

The Long Delayed... Part 3 Mike Toole's Write Up of Puffy's Boston show.

Some side conversations about Puffy's Anime Boston Appearance with Mike Toole.

Concerning how Puffy set up thir Not Lazy Tour.
I think it's fair for you to complain that their Not Lazy tour was... well, a bit lazy. After all, it has indeed been ten years! But the Shonen Knife thing... that's a pretty weird comparison, I think. Shonen Knife are essentially a sole proprietorship-- Naoko does all of the heavy lifting in that band, because punk rock keeps her young!! But Puffy still require a lot of support to travel and tour. They're small-time now, but still part of Warner Bros, so they have label people to deal with. As a unit, they're used to having stuff set up for the girls, separate accomodations for the band, plus travel/accomodation for management/merch sales. That's a lot of people and gear to move around. An act like Shonen Knife are going to be used to traveling a lot leaner, which lends a certain agiity.

The Future of Puffy's US Touring
That said, I do think that Puffy are overdue for a larger tour, and that it oughta be pretty easy for them to do a 12-20 city tour in North America at midsized clubs (400-1000 people) and do very well for themselves, especially if they offer VIP meets at some of the bigger shows. As Chanel discovered, there's a pretty decent number of people who are willing to drop an extra bill to meet Puffy and hang out with other nerds. With the band basically a nostalgia act in Japan, I honestly think it's a good time for them to hit the road for a world tour and make some money. Like I said, I just have this feeling I'll see them again in a year or two. I think they're gonna come back. I hope it happens!

P.S. Mike Toole did a great write up and I kind forgot I had a third post.  Sorry Mike, you are a great writer and deserved better out of me!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Puffy Precious Live In Kumamoto

I have watched Puffy Live in Kumamoto a couple of times.  I'm going to do a rewatch and wrangle my thoughts about the concert.  I think there are a lot of good things that I saw.

Image via Space Shower TV

I should just do a YouTube video, but I am a writer at heart and don't care if I make tens of cents off of that. :/

Saturday, January 11, 2020

Puffy Song In The Annual Gaki no Tsukai Don't Laugh: Youth High School

Hey all.  This blog is not dead, just not a ton of exciting Puffy news... until now.  By now I mean a couple weeks ago.

Puffy will be doing the end song for the annual "Gaki no Tsukai Don't Laugh" episodes.  From what I can read this will be the song in the final episode where the song covers the events of the 10 episodes.  I am not sure how the episodes are released in Japan, but it should be now or fairly soon we should be seeing this pop up in the usual places.

Image via NTV.

What are the "Don't Laugh" episodes of  "Gaki no Tsukai?"  This is one of the marquee TV events in Japan where Downtown (arguably the biggest and most well know comedy duo), Cocorino (right up there thanks to being on this show for many years) and Hōsei Tsukitei (comedian/story teller) have to endure a day of pranks (and each other) without laughing.  Laughing will suffer a serious slap to the ass with a rubberized bat.

The theme this year is: youth high school.  Definitely going back to the well from arguably their best "Don't Laugh" series from 2005.   Unfortunately the past few years the series has been very predictable, while funny it is jokes that by and large don't vary much from year to year.  Hoping this year is better.

It would be cool if Puffy were more involved as the "Don't Laugh" shows are a way less popular / fading artists get some exposure, but regardless this is a really nice thing to see.

P.S.  Hope the new year is good for you all.  I have been dealing with a lot of stuff over the past year.  I lost my dad to a long term illness, career commitments and kids. Writing about Puffy sort of fell to the bottom of my list for the last year.