Honto no Jibun, the Shugo Chara ED by Buono! sits in fifth place on the chart for its first week, with sales of 29,000 CDs.
Buono! is made up of two members of Berryz Koubou and one of ℃-ute, but Honto no Jibun ended up outselling a ℃-ute song that was released the same week. (Click photos to enlarge.)
In an interview with the Mainichi Shinbun newspaper, Miyabi, Airi, and Momoko talked about the song, about Shugo Chara, and about their own careers. Here is a very loose translation of part of it:
Question: What are your impressions of the song, Honto no Jibun?
Miyabi (pink shirt) -- It has a good tempo, and boils with courage and energy. We felt happy while we were recording it and seemed to convey that to people listening.
Airi (white shirt) -- I read the manga and then when we got the lyrics, they really seemed to fit the heroine Amu-chan's feelings. There's nothing from the script in the lyrics, but they seemed to express Amu-chan's feelings. Especially where we sing "you idiot."
Momoko (red shirt) -- It's a really easy song to sing. My first thought was that we could sing it with little children. It can be a song to support someone in expressing their true self. In hoping others will be happier, you become happier yourself.
Q: Do you express your true selves?
Miyabi -- The heroine Amu is a cool character at school, but inside she is cute and insecure, and that gap worries her. I really understand her feelings. People think I'm a cool character, but I think I have a cute and insecure side. I want to show my more girlish side.
Airi -- I think it's good to have another side. But it's really hard to think of how to break your shell and let it out.
Momoko -- The song's message of putting yourself out there makes me want to express honestly what I feel. That "you idiot" part is something you wouldn't normally say, but it's followed by very gentle feelings. That change of feeling is like a different self.
Q: What are your feelings about the manga.
Miyabi -- I think the drawing is really cute. Especially the clothes Amu-chan wears. I was thinking while I read the manga that I wanted to wear them, too. Besides the clothing, there are the transformation scenes. The story is full of dreams.
Airi -- In the story there are little angel-like beings who are born from eggs and can change you. I enjoyed thinking about what kind of "shugo chara" I would have.
Momoko -- My first thought was how much fun it was to read! I liked Amu's fashion, and envied her having characters that would help her. I liked Suu-chan, who made sweets and wore frilly clothing. She's so girly. I love her.
Q: Would you like to appear in an anime?
All together: Yes!
Q: So you like acting.
Miyabi -- I've done some acting, but the little secrets like how to breathe and how to follow on appropriately when someone misses a line are a lot of fun. I love acting.
Airi -- Hagiwara Mai from ℃-ute has appeared in another anime and said that voice-acting was really hard. It seems like it would be realy hard, but for my future, I'm going to have to try it sometime. [note: Mai, who is 12, appeared in Kirarin Revolution, which stars another idol from the Hello Project factory.]
Momoko -- Acting, pretending you're someone you're not, seems really hard. Just putting forth your natural self, on the other hand.... I've never played someone from the past, but I can imagine that it would be very tough. In anime, I'd like to try playing a fairy.
The group's name Buono! is Italian for "good." The girls and their publicity machine say it means "delicious." They use the Italian hand gesture of screwing your index finger into your cheek. They say it means "delicious," but as far as I know it means "pretty girl." Appropriate enough. Anyway, it seems that we don't just have Engrish now, but Itarian.
Besides the fact that the song and the performance are both good, the success of this song must be connected with the nature of the audience you see at the live event in August at which the photos were taken. There are two complete audiences for the group and the anime: little girls and otaku.
This whole world of the teen idol factory in Japan is amazing. Hirano Aya was a fringe part of it in her mid-teens. But she wasn't part of Hello Project, the biggest producer of idols, and the producer of Buono!, ℃-ute, Berryz Koubou, and of course Morning Musume. Airi has been an idol since she was 9 or so. And like Hirano Aya, these girls probably did commercials even as little children. How many such hothouse flowers must there be in Japan? What sort of half-relationship can they have with their regular classmates? What happens if their careers end before they're 18, and the thing that made them special evaporates overnight?
The way Buono's dance moves improve with each successive video of them makes me realize that these girls have to go to school, too, and don't have time to practice as much as would be needed for perfect performances. These teen idol groups do interesting choreography sometimes, but I've been struck by how not-quite some of the coordination is.
But in any case, these are actual people. Momoko is genki and energetic and moves a bit too much. Airi, at 13, is slightly less coordinated than the other two, who are 15, but seems a rather cocky person and clearly has a big future. And Miyabi is tall and elegant and both sings and dances best of the three, but even from her interview, you know she has an insecure side.
Check my previous post if you'd like more information.