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Miyuu SawaiRika IzumiKeiko KitagawaMew AzamaAyaka KomatsuRina KoikeAya SugimotoChieko Kawabe-OchiAlisa Yuriko DurbrowAFFILIATESFuck Yeah BSSM Boys

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    Ayaka Komatsu posing for various release events, 2013.  I believe these are all for her new trading card collection, Ayaka Komatsu Platinum Box.


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    A peak at some of Ayaka’s new trading cards, as well as pics from a signing event.


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    Pics from Ayaka Komatsu’s blog, including some from a Nico Nico event where she demonstrated her awesome table tennis skills.


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    Last batch of Ayaka Komatsu’s blog pics… for now.


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    Ayaka recently announced another film project on her blog!  The movie is called “Talk to the Dead” and was shot last June.  It should be released August 3, 2013.  And from the look of things, Ayaka snagged another starring role!  Woohoo!

    No official website as of yet, but I’ll keep an eye out.


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    …she is appearing in a stage production put together by her agency, Amuse!

    The play is called “Miagereba Ano hi to Onaji Sora,” which loosely (and I mean loosely) translates to “If You Look Up at the Same Sky That Day.”  The play takes place in 1945 during WWII.  The teasers say something about “protecting someone important.”  Since Ayaka is billed as the heroine (and is the only lady in the entire cast), I have a feeling Ayaka is that someone.

    The play also stars Soichi Hirama, Kimoto Totani, Shota Matsushima, Takuya Yoshimura, Naoto Ito, Shotaro Kono, Yuichi Tutiya, and Toru Kugasawa.  It will run from April 4-15, 2013.


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    Ayaka Komatsu on the beach at sunset for Wanibooks 102, 2013.


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    Ayaka Komatsu in pigtails for Wanibooks 102, 2013.


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    A very blue Ayaka Komatsu: Wanibooks 102, 2013.


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    Ayaka Komatsu for Wanibooks 102 in what is quite possibly the creepiest gravure shoot I have ever seen, and that is saying something.


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    Happy Birthday to BSSM’s shrine maiden, Rei Hino!


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  • 04/17/13--21:58: Photo













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    Unfortunately, yes, but of course it’s not enough that I just answer that question.

    Miyuu’s career resembles the norm for gravure idols.  They work steadily in the beginning because (and this does skeeve me out a bit) who you are doesn’t really matter when you’re breaking into the entertainment business in your early teens.  What matters is that you’re in your early teens and know how to look “innocently sexy” in the obligatory school uniform.  If they’re lucky, they get one big job.  Then their careers sort of fizzle out.  If you did get that big break, you have a slightly better chance of getting bit parts than the girls whose careers never even had the flash in the pan moment.

    The best way I can think to explain it is comparing besties Ayaka and Miyuu.  That Ayaka (and I suppose Rina since she’s never been out of work for 10 years… at 19-years-old) has managed to sustain a solvent, primarily gravure career for as long as she has is pretty out of the ordinary.  And she’s just now (finally!) being given the chance to show that she has range as an actress beyond “the pretty girl.”

    At first, Miyuu and Ayaka’s careers begin very similarly.  They both got started in the early 2000s at tween girl’s fashion magazines (Love Berry and Candy respectively).  Simultaneously, Miyuu started doing gravure work in 2001 and was seen frequently in mags like Bomb Idol; oddly, Ayaka didn’t start until 2003, and I can only find a handful of shoots prior to 2004.  Then they both got their “big break” with PGSM, and this is where, in retrospect, I think I can trace how they’ve ended up in two completely different places.

    Miyuu was a big huge deal during PGSM, obviously.  She was doing the bulk of commercials, appearances, and magazine shoots what with her being the title character.  So she was super busy in 2004.

    Ayaka was also super busy in 2004, but not just with PGSM work.  Essentially, Ayaka was lucky enough to get TWO big breaks at the same time.  In addition to her first major TV role as Minako Aino, she was selected for the idol group Nitteligenic in 2004.  Nitteligenic is an idol group sponsored by Nippon TV; each “generation” lasts for one year, and then a new handful of girls compete for the next round.  While someone is with the group, they do a lot of features on NTV in addition to idol DVDs, special pictorials, and other promo gigs.  Basically, it’s a year-long super job where you’re guaranteed to be busy and, most importantly, visible.

    I think how Ayaka approaches her career was heavily influenced by her time at Nitteligenic.  She will pretty much do any work that comes her way, and she’ll promote the shit out of it.  If you go to her blog for example, the top is entirely dedicated to upcoming and current projects/appearances, while one sidebar features all of her most recent products.  Granted, this isn’t unique to her, but compared to the other girls’ blogs, Ayaka’s is kept the most up to date (for example, Miyuu’s is advertising a play she did back in October rather than the one she just finished or the one she was just cast in), it has the most information, and she does not rely on the static blog content to keep her followers informed of her activities.  She tweets reminders all the time, and she blogs about them all the time.  I really do mean ALL THE TIME.  For as busy as she is, I’m pretty amazed at how often she’s able to blog.  It’s possible the Ayaka 502 staff helps her out from time to time, but tone of the posts is pretty consistent.  And if nothing else, she’s taking a lot of time out of her days to take all those blog pics.

    Ostensibly, this has nothing to do with Nitteligenic, but I think her time with the idol group taught her the importance of being constantly busy and constantly visible.  She has more guest spots in dramas than any of the other girls (possibly more than all of them combined).  It’s not the most challenging work, but it gives her a nice payday, and more importantly, it keeps her in the public eye.

    It’s worth noting that over the past few years - particularly since her (AMAZING HAVE YOU WATCHED IT YET EVERYONE SHOULD REALLY WATCH IT AND LET ME KNOW IF THERE IS A TRANSLATION OUT THERE SOMEWHERE) appearance in Idol Insiders - Ayaka continues to be everywhere AND she’s getting more starring roles.  She’s the lead in two upcoming horror movies, she’s gotten a lot of lead roles in stage productions, and I just found out she has YET ANOTHER idol DVD coming out in June (which also means there’s a good chance for another photobook, web pictorial, and a guaranteed slew of magazine appearances and hand-shaking events).  She’s always working.  I also think that if she ever does decide to stop being on camera, she could become a talent agent pretty seamlessly.  Girl has the contacts and knows how to promote.

    I don’t mean to suggest that Miyuu isn’t trying or isn’t working hard because she is.  However, Ayaka might get offered more parts, whereas Miyuu has to go on more auditions.  Even if Ayaka does still audition a lot, since she’s more recognizable, it’s more likely that she’ll be hired because she has a guaranteed fanbase who will tune in just to see her.

    Miyuu doesn’t have that luxury; post-PGSM, she didn’t get another big job.  For whatever reason, fashion modeling wasn’t an option for her like it was for Rika and Mew (who thus far seem pretty content to stay fashion models, although I long for them to form a music duo).  She couldn’t break primarily into music like Chieko did.  Keiko’s ability to immediately transition from tokusatsu dramas to “regular” and more importantly, highly successful acting is so unique that I doubt it could be replicated.  Miyuu always expressed her desire to be an actress, but it’s really hard to just be an actress in Japan.  You need another schtick to help you break through the noise.  For most women, that means gravure work.

    But I’ve never gotten the impression from Miyuu that she particularly likes gravure work.  When she was younger, she’d do it, and I’d argue she’s very good at it by virtue of being cute on a stick, but she never liked it.  I’ve always thought her 5 year hiatus from gravure work (aside from one internet pictorial that didn’t seem to do very well) was very telling.  For 5 years, she was apparently able to survive without falling back on gravure work… but this year she had to go back.

    There’s the added “agency problem.”  I’ve long been of the opinion that Box Corporation, is terrible.  At least terrible for Miyuu.  Though I just looked at their website, which they’ve recently revamped, and she’s promoted 3 times on the front page.  This pleases me.  Still, since PGSM ended until very recently, I think her agency really did not do enough for her.

    Amuse, on the other hand, has a reputation in Japan of being one of if not the most controlling talent agencies in the country.  Johnny’s used to top the list, but I’ve heard Amuse is outdoing them lately.  Now, being American and therefore very into individualism, my automatic reaction is to shake my fist generally in their direction.  But it’s worked for Ayaka.  I’ve never heard any whiff of a scandal being connected to Ayaka, and she has never been without work.

    But don’t be depressed!  Thing are looking up for Miyuu.  The new photobook “nudity” (I’ve read that she was always wearing something during the shoot even if it didn’t look like it) was a pretty obviously publicity stunt - and it seems to have worked!  She’s been getting more bit parts in dramas, she’s been in 2 plays this year, and she’s already gotten cast in another.  I don’t think she’ll ever be Keiko-famous (I also don’t think she wants to be), but I hope she’ll be able to live her dream of supporting herself as an actress.


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    That’s a good point as well.  I don’t know how well we can judge her singing abilities based on PGSM.  They weren’t the greatest, but it didn’t seem like any of the girls received much training prior to their recording.  Rika, Mew, and Alisa did well because they’d sung before and knew what they were doing, but Miyuu, Rina, Ayaka, and Keiko were a lot rougher in my opinion.  I got the impression that they were rushing to get everything done and didn’t really give them much of a chance to work on that aspect of the show.

    Also Miyuu’s voice may have improved… though it’s possibly telling that we have no evidence either way.

    Now that you mention it, it’s kind of weird that none of the girls have done much musically except for Chieko, Alisa, and Natsumi Kiyoura.  Ayaka did “Cross My Heart” for one of her DVDs, Rina’s sung in a couple of Very Berry live events (which were… not her best work), Mew had one single for NHK, and Rika did a group charity song, but other than that, nothing.

    Anyway, I take your point; if Miyuu’s voice hasn’t improved, it certainly limits her options.  It is very interesting how in Japan, it’s almost a requirement for you to be a “triple threat” (singing, acting, dancing), whereas that’s not expected elsewhere that I know of.


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  • 04/19/13--17:38: Photo



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    Recent pics from Rina Koike’s blog, 2013.  I’ll explain the one pic in a bit (you know which one I mean).


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    Rina Koike and her bunny made a brief appearance in Tokyo Shimbun, a newspaper in Japan, last month.  I just found out her bunny’s name btw: Bruno.  Because of course his name is Bruno.


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    After 3+ years on the air, Three Sisters Nightlife has been canceled.  Rina Koike has been playing the youngest sister on the show since it premiered in December 2009.  The final episode aired in March 2013.


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    Rina Koike is now starring in a children’s show on Oha!, 2013.  Yes, she is playing a talking chestnut.


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    Rina Koike guest stars as an Akihabara maid in the 2 hour drama special “Haha. Wagako e/Mother. To My Child,” which aired March 31, 2013.


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