Coming to H!P late on I have to be honest and say that of the first two generations there’s only really Yuko, Iida, Yaguchi and Abe that I have taken much notice of. The recently subbed early Utaban appearances have gone some way to at least fleshing out the other members but for me really all my attention is on the four I just mentioned. Of these Yaguchi and Iida are two of my absolute favourites but I have a healthy liking for Yuko too. There’s a lot in her humour and her yankii personality that I admire (and find sexy). I have at times overlooked Abe though. This is strange because normally whenever I see her interviewed I can’t help but be won over by her personality. She gives off an air of well balanced and good natured beauty and security. There seems to be something about her so…for some reason I always think earthly. Peaceful. Mother nature. Mother Musume. 😀 I think when Takahashi Ai was trying to compliment her on the first Hello Pro Hour show she was kind of saying the same type of thing. Except Abe seemed genuinely unhappy at poor Lovely’s attempts at compliments. As raw nerves go it was a bizarre one to touch upon. Abe really doesn’t seem the city type and that really is a compliment. Although I wonder if her reaction gives a glimpse of another side to her? I joked in an earlier post that she knows where the bodies are buried and demands all the blue Smarties be removed from bowls. A thought that I found humorous partly because it seems so against her happy, sweet and nice persona and yet also because…well…you could almost believe it. After all this is the member who was suspended for plagiarism. That in itself shows another side to her. A side at odds with her public persona. That and her annoyed reaction to Takahashi are at the very least intriguing. I think it may also be one of the reasons I have not followed her as closely as I might have (which in retrospect I think is a bit unfair). I think with Takahashi it may just have been that she is sensitive to her background and how she is seen by others. She’d like to be seen in a different light. This is a woman with many years of success behind her so maybe she’d like to be perceived as something more than just a nice non-city type. Well whatever the reason for the reaction to Takahashi I’m sure the answer lies in that direction. Poor Lovely just kept on digging that hole though. Unintentionally amusing stuff. As for the plagiarism it’s impossible to know how or why that happened. It was a long time ago and presumably she learned something from it so the benefit of the doubt should be given. Even so it is an interesting black mark. Of course there’s always more to the members than the fans get to see and I still do believe that the happy, cute Abe we normally see is a real part of her. I just wonder how big a percentage we don’t see. But you could ask that with any member. Plus with Abe we get a very warm personality that H!P would have been missing out on if she wasn’t there. Nobody else in MM’s history quite gives off the same feeling (although I could see Niigaki maturing into a similar role with the current group).
When Morning Musume appeared on Utaban at Christmas 1999 the hosts had something special for their introduction. First of all they introduced enka singer Yuko Nakazawa, then they introduced Tanpopo (Yaguchi, Kaori and Aya Ishiguro), next out were Petit Moni (Maki Goto, Kei Yasuda and Sayaka Ichii). That left only one more Morning Musume member left to introduce. Abe was introduced as Morning Musume. A funny joke but a bit unfair on the others. Nevertheless she was often called the face of Morning Musume (and what a cute baby face it was and still is). Plus she did often take the lead in the early days (never more so than with Furusato). Her popularity and her help in making MM a success shouldn’t be overlooked. I don’t think there is or ever has been any member that was irreplaceable but in the early days Abe was probably closer than anyone else has ever come. Although personally as a big fan of Kaori I think tv appearances would be a lot duller back then without her. As for Yaguchi, well she was still finding her feet and was just starting to find the persona of the Yaguchi we now know and love. And Yuko? Well in a way she was a pleasant surprise. After all for an idol group she was a bit older when they started than would be the norm for an idol singer. I like that she was there and she remains a great figurehead for H!P but really it was Abe that seemed to be given the task of being the heart of the group and generally you couldn’t hope for a more beautiful heart.
One area I’m not so sure about is her solo material. I like The Stress but the other bits and pieces I’ve heard have tended to leave me cold. However I haven’t really given the songs the time they deserve. It has been just quick snatches really. Certainly the Japanese record buying Wotas public liked her stuff as she sold well enough initially. I have noticed with the later releases that the final chart position seems to have been declining. I hope H!P manage to reverse this trend with her next single which of course is due for release on 15 October 2008. In fact it should be a busy few months for Abe fans what with her also having her birthday concert dvd released on 5 November and also a new photobook and related dvd called Nac”chu”ral to be released 3rd September. Talking of photobooks (something I always seem to get around to) Abe despite her cute and happy persona can really turn on the sexy for these things. Another aspect of her that is otherwise hidden. I can’t really think of any sexy MM pv’s that she was in. So without further ado some favourite pics…
I can’t even begin to describe the affect some of those shots have on me. The water/mud pics alone would mean I’d have to make this an adult blog if I went into details. Gorgeous. 😉