The Dawn of a New Age in Musume?

Hopefully some of ya’ll were wondering when I would get around to providing commentary on this epic release. I offered myself a day to spaz my little heart out, simply to ensure that I could comment accordingly and with as much control as possible. As many fans of Morning Musume have already come to find out, the full 10 minute PV release of the group’s double A-sides has been already been unleashed by Up-Front! And boy, in less than 24 hours, it has been making waves in and out of Japan!

Is it quite fair to even call this the dawn of a new age for Morning Musume when Takahashi Ai is still in the mix? Although these two songs/PVs mark a series of lasts for the beloved leader, many are already claiming that this is only the beginning for the remaining members. I’ll try not to go too deep into explaining the PV, as many of you have already seen it and can obviously observe for yourselves. In fact, in addition to my commentary, several fans have offered their thoughts of possible symbolism in the PVs all throughout the online community (via Tumblr, forums, etc.).

Introduction shot for "Kono Chikyuu"

The first part of this 10 minute long piece of epic kicks off with the first of the two A-sides, “Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo!” The 9 members are seen slowly awakening from their slumber, and eventually making their way toward a single door that stands in the plain white room. As they each cross the threshold, the girls enter a magical twilight zone of sorts, oddly reminiscent of Mario Kart 64‘s Star Road course. And as the powerful brass background fades to subtlety, the members magically experience a wardrobe change, which as I previously commented reminded me of Princess Leia‘s slave outfit. Please pardon my not-so-inner nerd.

The direction of this PV falls very much into the typical path of the road generally taken by most Hello Project PV directors: dance scenes, group shots, and solo cuts.  The solo shots were simple enough, and scattered throughout the PV quite tastefully. The background was a sparkly sharp contrast to the girls, and many fans even went on to comment how it reminded them of the Only you solo shots.

Kono Chikyuu Solo Shot Collection

While the group shots were far and few between, they were something of a “good things come in small packages” sort of sense for me.  There were perhaps about 2 full group solo shots, and to the delight of any Suzuki Kanon fan, she managed to get some up-front face time!

ZUKKI IN THE FRONT!

My only particular beef with this PV, if you will, was the choreography. Though I will admit the girls looked like they had a lot of fun recording the dance portions of this PV, I can’t help but express my disappointment regarding these segments. The dance is all too simple (I memorized it after a few streams). Yes, it can be disputed that it was catered to the kyuukies to allow them time to assimilate and improve, but this marks their 3rd and 4th PV and original choreography, I think they can handle it by now. And, if that wasn’t the reason behind it all, then damnit UFA, just hire yourself a new choreographer! A lot of the moves are recycled from single to single, and trust me, it gets boring to watch after a while. As much as I believe in the saying “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” I think this whole choreography mess is beyond broken, and is in desperate need of fixing. The bridge dance break was rather painful for me to watch, but I was slightly amused to see the appearance of a Cha Cha Slide move thrown in the mix. Actually, I often chuckle to myself whenever I find retro dance moves in this PV. Whether or not it was done on purpose to fit the disco flavor of the song is beyond me, but nonetheless pleasantly amusing.

The rise of the Reina/Riho center era; The appearance of the Cha Cha Slide.

What separated this PV from the rest was the inclusion of a small plot within the PV. Mind you, the plot was heavily Ai-centric, but simply so as it is her final PV recording for the group. We watch as the girls walk around aimlessly, entranced by the starry purple cosmos that surrounds them, and which beautifully contrasts their golden outfits. Much to many a fans’ dismay, Mitsui Aika did not have a solo plot shot due to her injured leg.

Solo member plot scenes sans Aika.

As for Aichan, as she strolls on her own path, her eyes catch sight of a beautiful star in the cosmic sky. She grabs up to reach it and holds it close to her heart with a warm smile, all before tossing it towards the viewer. And as the song fades away, the door through which she originally entered appears once again and our beloved leader walks toward it to reveal the transition to our second PV.

Takahashi Ai's solo plot within "Kono Chikyuu."

BUT BEFORE THAT!!!! I’d like to take a personal stab at the possible hidden symbolism behind this scene. Many fans would like to believe that this scene wasn’t just put here because she is the leader and this is her final PV, nor did the director find it aesthetically pleasing to include it; for once, I’m joining the bandwagon. As Ai transitions into a life outside of Morning Musume and Hello Project, she’s taking some big steps away from arguably all that she’s ever known. The star in the sky could represent her glowing career for the past 10 years she spent within the company and as a member of one of the most influential groups in Japan (and dare I say it, the world!). She worked hard to become a member of this group (hence jumping and reaching for the star) and held it close to her heart with a tender smile (indicating that she had successfully become a member of the group, and shows just how much being a part of something so monumental means to her). And as she tosses the star to the audience, it could represent a baton passing of sorts, off to the new leader, fellow and sole rokkie member left Niigaki Risa. Perhaps the scene is trying to have her say, “Hey, I’ve had my time to shine in this group, and now it’s time for someone else to shine as brightly.”

Prior to the release of the full 10 minute PV, there was the leak preview of the full “Kono Chikyuu” PV on the official channel. In this version, Aichan was making her way toward the door, but never quite made it. This could have potentially indicated Ai’s transition away from the group, entering a new part of her life as her own being and no longer a leader of the group. Of course, now we know better and this is merely a transition between the two PVs of the double A-sides.

And with that marks the end for the “Kono Chikyuu” PV! After I crack my knuckles, let’s move on to part deux, shall we?

Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai PV

The “Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai” PV kicks off where the previous PV left off: As Aichan opens the door through which she originally entered dream land, the instrumentals for the second single unfold and we watch as an animated piece of chapstick comes to life to beautify a soundly sleeping Michishige Sayumi. At that sight, one can immediately conclude that the direction of the successive PV would be more on the fun and eccentric side in comparison to the first! The PV seems to posses a rather stop-motion animation quality to it, as made evident with the initial chapstick scene and all throughout the PV, actually.

Sayu dreaming of Reina; floating heads galore!

After having her lips well-glossed, Sayu remains soundly sleeping while dreaming of genie Reina. The dream takes on a trippy turn as Reina’s head is covered by not one, but three floating Sayu heads. If this is what being on acid looks like, bring it on!  The remainder of the PV has the girls taking solo turns, singing and dancing in their quirky and colorful outfits before an equally colorful and animated background.

"Kare to" Member Solo Shots

 The rest of the PV is just as seemingly scattered as the shots imply. The group shots primarily take place on cotton candy-esque clouds, while the remainder of the PV consists of a variety of odd scenarios for the members: Gaki growing several stories tall and defeating a comically drawn Godzilla, Zukki growing wings after taking a bite from an apple (REDBULL GIVES YOU WINGS!!), Riho and her animated dog singing along, the new 5-unit senpai version of Mini Moni, Sayu working at Morning Musume Burger and on a cleverly propped PEAR computer, prior to having mini members float out of her head. Seriously, I couldn’t make this up even if I tried.

Regular group shots from "Kare to."

The compilation of several odd scenes from "Kare to."

The scene that I really wanted to highlight for this PV was the series of solo shots that featured each member making a ridiculous facial expression. I don’t know about you guys, but I love it when idols let their guard down, and allow themselves to be uninhibited in front of that camera, shedding their “perfect” idol image for a moment of sheer and utter fun for the rest of us. While some members definitely went for the utterly ridiculous, all the girls looked absolutely hilarious. I’d like to salute Reina for reviving the famous Mini Moni “Aiin” pose in her brief solo shot.

The ain't your mama's Brady Bunch!

As the PV draws to a close, we return to a sleeping Sayu. This time, she’s dreaming of herself donned in her Kono Chikyuu outfit, looking gorgeous as always. The 10-minute long PV concludes with a motion shot of all the members sound asleep in their beds.

Anyone else find "Kono Chikyuu" Sayu to be absolutely flawless?

While reviewing the second PV, I found myself mentioning Mini Moni. A lot of it has to do with the abuse of the green screen and ridiculous elements that made up this video had a wonderfully nostalgic feel and were reminiscent of the silly tactics used in the old Mini Moni PVs. That’s not a bad thing, either. The lack of dance scenes was something interesting, and the sheer lack of Aichan in comparison to the previous PV was somewhat stunning, yet understandable. The song itself lacked the prominence of Aichan’s vocals, and was instead led by the rokkie combination of Sayu and Reina. Referring back to my baton-passing comment, this song is also in a sense trying to ease fans into a Morning Musume without Aichan. Did it do a good job? Who knows, but it definitely made that transition a lot smoother for me, personally. It was odd, and it will definitely take some getting used to, but I believe it can be done.

What surprises me the most about these two PVs isn’t the art direction, or even the sheer ridiculousness; instead, the surprisingly positive reactions the PVs and the songs themselves have gotten all throughout the online community is something of a first for the group. Somewhere out there, there are fans that can’t seem to be satisfied with any Morning Musume release; there is always something to complain about. However, with these double A-sides, the online community seems to be nothing but overwhelmingly supportive. Whether it’s due to the fact that it is Aichan’s graduation single or to the possibility that fans just might actually be satisfied is irrelevant. I hope that fans can come together and remain supportive and positive like this for future releases!

And as I crack the kinks out of my neck in conclusion to this lengthy piece, I’d like to say that I’m rather satisfied. For Aichan, WHAT A WAY TO GO! These were two of the best releases from H!P that I’ve seen in a long time, and hopefully this effort will continue even after her departure from the group. We still have her solo PV, the 12th album, and the fall tour to look forward to. It’s only a matter of days, but let’s hope all the best for the group!

Final comments:

  • The lack of Aika in both PVs was rather disappointing for some fans, I’m sure. Hopefully she makes a speedy recovery and joins the rest of the group soon
  • Sayu looked absolutely flawless/gorgeous/beautiful/amazing/fantastic in the “Kono Chikyuu” PV. I hope she styles her hair like that again in the near future.
  • I’m ready for a new age momusu!!

As always, be sure to support the group by purchasing their album/singles via these online stores:

CDJapan

YESASIA

EDIT:

It seems as though the girls have taken one of the coveted front page positions on the YouTube WORLDWIDE site. What an accomplishment! Hopefully this continues to reel in more fans and support!

Advertisements

2 responses to “The Dawn of a New Age in Musume?

  1. Pingback: The End of an Era: Takahashi Ai’s Graduation Concert and the Future of Hello! Project UNCENSORED « Not Another K-Blog!!!·

  2. Pingback: Why 3D TV Paves The Way For The New Era In Gaming·

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s