Having another set of idols in a different culture has really let me nail down what I love about H!P. It's interesting that my H!P fandom had a mini-revival right around the Oh-RDR transition, and it's because Kpop has made me really appreciate some of the things in Jpop. Such as END ROLL from AKB48.
The songs: Kpop's numbers are better for putting on your running playlist. However, they do tend to beat their hooks to death. Jpop numbers generally have better songwriting, but aren't necessarily as immediately catchy.
The arrangements: Kpop arrangements are are steeped in techno and BEATS BEATS BEATS, due to the dance nature of the songs. Jpop arrangements not only use less autotune, but they have much more variety in styles, as well as using synthesized orchestra instruments more than the electronic synths. Oh's retro-pop style would have sounded quite Ayaya if it weren't for its electro arrangements. But this also means that the many layers in Jpop arrangements are more apparent.
For example, Tan Tan Taan! has a freaking genius arrangement with counter-melodies and bells and whistles that weave together seamlessly
to sound deceptively simple. The guitar/piano remixes from Tivoler do a good job to show how many different counter-melodies went into classic H!P numbers.(My favorite is this one
, all of the different parts are cheesily mixed in the original but here you can here them all given their fair weight)
Ballads: Don't even get me started on the freaking Kpop ballads. Same old, same old, all over again with the same guitar/piano-->strings-->mind-blowing orchestra/rock band climax --> cooldown back into guitar/piano formula abusing the suspended cymbal crescendoes. You heard one you heard them all. Jpop ballads vary much more in style, including your laidback numbers
to your laidback-but-upbeat numbers
to your big choruses
to your choral pieces
, sometimes all in the same song.
Of course there exceptions, like select BEG and Epik High numbers.(Although the one BEG song
reminds me of good ol' Taiyou to Ciscomoon and/or Minmi
Remixes: Kpop remixes are mostly techno-based, playing up their danceability. H!P remixes on the other hand were largely rock rearrangements, and others doing completely different stuff like CosmoTiger's disco pieces or Nothing But the Girl's Acid? mixes. So Kpop remixes tend to be more fun but Jpop remixes more creative.(Like The Charmy Show
Talent: Kpop wins hands down.
But because the bar is so much higher in Kpop, that means its much easier to see who has the It Factor in Jpop, who can dance beyond your standard idol crap.(Takahashi, Saki, Noro, Matsubara Natsumi, etc) It also meant that I immediately identified RDR as an idol dance in contrast to the awesomeness that is ITNW.(and its fucking REMIX! hot shit there!)
Personality: This is really a cultural thing. J-variety is a lot more vicious, with the hosts doing everything they can to humiliate the idols. In contrast, K-variety is utterly in love with their idols and praises them to the high heavens. Any embarassment of Kpop idols is usually self-inflicted. I'd say most of the AKB48 frontgirls have as much spunk as say, SNSD though. So J-variety has a lot more physical humor and WTF moments where K-variety tends to have more dialogue and snark moments. This also means that I needs subs for Kpop much more than I do for Jpop. With Jpop, I had enough of a comprehension of idol-japanese to get the gist of the members' evaluations in MM DVD Magazine 23.
, but I definitely can't do that with Kpop.