I’ve kind of been putting this one off as you’ll see from the way I ramble and get twisted up in knots. So I apologise in advance. Charmy…what do I think of her? I’m struggling really. I like her in Morning Musume. I like her in Ongaku Gatas. I like her in V-U-den. I like her presenting Hello! Morning. Oh and I really like her Hello Pro News section clips with Yuko Nakazawa. So why the struggle? I mean she’s very pretty, is a big personality in H!P, has done some sterling work in various pv’s ( Issai Gassai Anata ni Ageru for one and Jaja Uma Paradise for another. Not to mention The Peace! of course) and can be really funny at times. And yet…I think there’s something I don’t like too. But maybe I do. Take her infamous sports festival incident. There’s not many members of H!P who would react like that. On the one hand you could see it as someone who really needs to get a bit of perspective or who is a bit childish (mind you she was a lot younger at the time) but on the other hand here is someone who is very competitive, someone who really doesn’t want to lose and who when she feels injustice is not afraid to shout about it. Well at least she has some fire even if she lost a bit of dignity. Yes there seems to be something just under the surface with Rika. Is she more complex than other members? Or should that be more normal? And why can’t I put my finger on it properly?
Anyway I do really like her. Why? Well yes there’s her looks. If you ignore her horrible blonde hair period she is certainly damn pretty, stunningly so sometimes. But looks mean nothing in H!P without personality. After all there’s bloody loads of pretty girls in H!P so why like one just based on looks? Besides when you look at someone, whether you realise it or not, you automatically place a personality on them. You never can separate looks and personality. Everything from the way a person moves to the way they dress, style their hair, smile, speak, laugh, etc, influences your opinion of them (especially when it’s someone you don’t know and so have no preconceived ideas about). So I don’t think it’s just looks. So it must be something to do with the personality then. Well she is funny. Her Hello Pro News segments were brilliant. With Yuko’s natural wit and Lovely’s cute dress-up randomness the news segment was really at it’s height. Charmy led it so well. Her introduction songs were inspired lunacy and the interplay between her and Yuko was always a delight. Away from Hello Pro News she was also a great presenter of Hello! Morning. Her scatterbrained persona was endearing and often very amusing. Okay so she makes me laugh. Big plus point but what else? I mean just who is she? Is she a geek? A beauty? A villain? A mother figure to younger members? Is she part Charmy? Is she ditzy? I think…yes. Possibly. Maybe it’s the fact that she is a bit fussy or a bit girly or a bit…wet. Maybe it’s because there’s a warmth there. Maybe it’s because she’s so hard to really pin down. Maybe it’s because she is normal, with all the hopes, dreams, beauty and imperfection that brings with it. An ability to be both sexy, charming, caring and flawed. Then again maybe it’s just the V-U-den pv’s. No that can’t be it I liked her before I saw them. Well it’s still got me beat. Whatever it is Rika has enriched H!P with her presence and I’d be very surprised if she doesn’t get another unit or a solo career. She still has Ongaku Gatas anyway but I expect her to be a bit more busy than Ongaku Gatas generally seem to be. Bring back V-U-den I say.
So somehow she seems more real because she seems to have more to her. What other member is like that publicly? You can sum up most members of H!P with a few words. Normally the words are a mixture of ‘lively’, ‘funny’, ‘sweet’, ‘cute’ and so on. Rika is harder to sum up. Even her nickname Charmy doesn’t begin to properly express her personality. Whatever the reason ultimately it doesn’t matter. I like her performances in each group she has been in, I like her photobooks (gorgeous as they are), I like her in pv’s where she is always a mix of charming and sexy, I like her in tv programmes where her humour really comes through and I’d like her right now to be lying in my bed but that’s not really relevant. Or is it? Actually I think it probably really is. The girl they called Charmy has never really seemed to totally suit that nickname but you could call her beautiful, funny, silly, sexy and talented and they do suit. I guess it doesn’t really matter why I like her. What matters is I do and will get plenty more enjoyment from her whatever she does in the future. Even if there is still that something that I just can’t put my finger on I think it’s actually a special something. Rika’s personality is unique in H!P. She stands out. She was the perfect leader for V-U-den and will continue to entertain, tantalise, delight and maybe occasionally confuse. That’s as it should be. It’s more interesting that way.