Just a few minor things to note, probably not exactly the most flattering thing to say about the girls in Sphere so I apologize to the fans I might piss off ahead of the time. As entertainers I have nothing but respect for these girls.
1. There is a reason why people don’t like Ayahi. I think she is nonetheless an important part of the group in both the way it’s presented visually and in the way the four girls sound together. In essence she covers a lot of holes. However at the same time I’m not sure what she brings to the group that appeases the target audience.
2. However there are a couple really good pictures of her in there, in Tentai Kansoku, that works well, in the sense that I didn’t know she can have that look. Namely in the first section.
3. Megane is a great equalizer. However Aki doesn’t look that good with them, not sure why. It’s more like, for boring faces, glasses add something; for great faces, it can equalize or add to. So generally you can’t really lose if you’re a seiyuu.
4. Speaking of looks, Minako still has the best face, in that she expresses well in photos, and can solicit a good range of feelings at least when I look at it. The other girls at best look “pretty” except Haruka, who can occasionally go beyond that. Occasionally.
5. But once we take into the whole package, Haruka still hands down wins. I guess you do have a much harder time to be a model if you are short, which both Minako and Ayahi are. I think they clocked below average even for Japanese girls.
6. In the same way, Aki looks pretty cool in some shots because she is taller, and it gives her body that balance that most seiyuu types don’t have. But I guess she still looks better not trying to stretch that.
7. In the same way, again, Haruka doesn’t do very well when she tries to. I haven’t had the opportunity to look at her photo books but from what I saw from scans, yeah, she tries and it doesn’t work that often.
8. The prom shots are still the best overall set.
9. I like Minako’s twin tail shots in the school outfit set, there’s just something with that hair.
10. Everyone’s seen that picture of Haruka looking calm with the white dress, it is one of those examples when they keep it simple, it comes off very well.
11. Ayahi in the kimono shot is LOOOOL. I thought she also look way better in candid shots.
12. Every musician type doing this kind of “business” should release a photo album/book that records all that stuff-concert tour goods, outfits, pictures from lives. It’s nice!
13. I totally like the title of the book. Not sure if it is, but it feels like a tribute to all the astro references. Like a page from Sora no Manimani (which was one of the first Sphere anime).
Going to end with an image and some discussion. This isn’t from the book, but it’s from one of the promo sets Sphere did this year.
This is one of those not-quite-candid shots where the girls need to express naturally, smile, all that stuff. It’s a fun picture, so it needs to look…fun. I think Haruka’s strength really comes through here since she is the best actress in the group. Aki always look pretty natural, so she automatically passes.
Minako is a little caught in between, but if you’ve seen her film you probably know she really can’t act anyways, so that much is probably just natural for her. However Ayahi is just… well, she’s doing the right thing, but it looks pretty fake. The problem is the way we human beings detect facial expressions. A lot of it has to do with the way you emote with your eyes, how your face muscles move them while you smile. It’s like she needs to do this somewhat, and isn’t doing it.