Just when I thought I lost any will to fangirl over anything UFA-related, those bastards decide to do me in and release Dream Morning Musume‘s “Shining Butterfly” PV! It might be playing dirty or just pure coincidence, but I’ll be damned to admit that I haven’t actually fangirled this hard (recently) in a while. Ok, well, that’s a lie…So without further ado…
[Sorry about this guys, but it seems as though the UFA Youtube police already took down the PV from Youtube! If I can find another video, or if you guys happen to find a link, please let me know so I can replace the PV here ASAP! For now, I’m sorry, but you’ll have to rely on my poorly taken screenshots >__<] SCRATCH THAT: VIDEO IS UP!!!
Take a deep breath and let it out, nice and slow. I’ve expressed my feelings regarding the single already, based off teasers and whatnot released to the press a few weeks ago. So rather than delving into that twice, let’s go through a play-by-play, shall we?
The PV kicks off with a fade-in of Takahashi Ai walking into presumably the hostess club that the PV is set. There’s hardly any explanation as to why she’s there, as the PV quickly transitions into the Onna ni Sacchi Are-esque dance setting where out DMM ladies begin their opening vocal sequences. Truthfully, I just marveled over Nacchi; the woman seriously hasn’t aged a day past 18. Yuko is also looking rather stunning (despite her age; another drinker of the fountain of youth, it seems) and sounds fantastic! Yaguchi Mari also sounds a lot better here than she ever did in that cover album the group released earlier last year, and Fujimoto Miki…oh Miki. I think I speak for everyone when I say how we’ve missed her husky voice!
We then get smashed head-on to the full chorus, where all the women’s vocals come together and the PV transitions into the main dance sequence, albeit there’s more impromptu hip shaking and running-hands-through-hair motions than actual dancing, but come on, it’s DMM! All is obviously forgiven. Sarcasm aside, from the little dancing choreography that we do see, it seems that most of it is just hand motions for the most part and nothing too particularly extravagant. Though a little on the bland side, it adds nicely to the feel of the song.
Dorama STAATO! Now we get a glimpse of the main plot of the PV. You heard right, folks. Plot. This isn’t your cookie-cutter close up/dance shot/group shot PV, anymore! I don’t even recall the last time (if ever) there was a plot in a UFA/H!P PV, but my memory has been a bit rusty as of late. We’re introduced to hostesses Rika and Mari, both looking a wee bit under the weather, in the company of barkeeper Yuko. Further into the PV, we find that Rika seems to have some relationship with a man far too old for her clear on her iPhone screen. Though her dress isn’t exactly what I would have chosen for her, it suits the whole “hostess” theme rather well.
After many face shots of the three women, as well as some sparkling wine shots thrown randomly in the mix for aesthetic purposes, hostesses Koharu and Kei come bursting into the scene with Rika’s playboy man wrapped conveniently in between. Cue the obligatory SHOKKU faces from our main girls as well as some more dance sequences, and the plot continues to unfold. These scenes should be familiar to many of you, as they were the scenes initially released from the PV previews.
As Rika cries beautifully over her *presumable* lover’s infidelity, the rest of the DMM ladies come to her comfort. In her lonely daze, Rika pictures her man coming to her aid, ready to comfort her with a helping hand, but to her dismay, it’s just the baby-faced Nacchi. In her angry disappointment, Rika shoves away Nacchi’s kindness, which is rewarded with a bitchslap to the cheek from Yossi that brings Rika back into another state of SHOKKU. Cue Iida Kaori‘s SHOKKU-face as well. Though the cold and bitter feelings seem to end with Yossi’s much-needed slap, as the women once again are ready to comfort an emotionally hurt Rika.
Fans are then treated to a lovely sequence of face-shots from our dream team. As we all fawn over their beauty, I’d like to point out just how wonderful the line-distribution is for the single. Take the time to watch/listen to who is singing certain lines at different times! It’s really great!
As the song breaks down to the bridge sequence, we finally see why Ai makes an appearance. As she stands on the walkway stage in her High King-esque wardrobe, she struts her stuff on that catwalk and eventually, swoosh camera transition effect, and Rika magically appears in her stead as she continues the catwalk strut. It’s safe to conclude that Ai was randomly placed in the PV to act as Rika’s younger counterpart. Oh, UFA…
After another set of wonderful vocals at the closing portion of the bridge, we come full circle back into the chorus full-blast. As for the plot, it seems as though Rika is back to being bubbly and happy, in good company with the likes of Miki, Mako, and Yuko. But no plot would be truly complete without tying loose ends, so Rika’s hubby decides to pop back in and ruin the mood with his presence. After failing to get some loving from the ladies present (note: gotta love Miki’s bitch-face reactions!!!), he presents Rika with a modest (and poorly wrapped, I might add) gift. With a look of utter disgust, Rika pours her drink over the present and leaves the club with her companions, leaving her man with the company of a smugly smirking Yuko at the bar. Final note: Gotta love Miki’s smirk and not to mention, Yuko’s “I’m such a proud mama/I raised my girls right” smile at the end! LOVE IT!
I’ve shared my spiel about the dresses/outfits in the previous article, so no need to reiterate. I would love to elaborate on my opinion of the song though. It kind of follows the same set up as Morning Musume‘s Shouganai Yume Oibito, especially with that electric guitar riff providing a nice contrast to the other subtle instrumentals going on in the background. The vocals were wonderful, as expected from this fantastic line-up! The line distribution was incredibly fair and even all throughout! Every single member was able to sing at least two lines and was featured in not only their solo face-time shot, but in the dance sequences and plotline as well! That in and of itself just blew my mind. Endless claps for you, DMM/UFA for getting it right for once!
The plot tied up nicely, though relatively shallow and predictable. But as I sort of implied at the beginning, it’s a freakin’ plot in a PV for once! Who am I to care/complain about the actual substance of the damn thing, because it’s a plot for christ’ sake!!!! I will comment on Ai’s cameo. I recall reading somewhere that (I believe it was on HO…) Yuko that was thought to have said something about DMM not really disbanding. With Miki’s leave of absence due to her pregnancy (CONGRATS ON THE BABY BOY!!!…soon anyway), the group is merely getting members to come and take her place. Well, gee. Does this mean that Ai is coming back? What about Tsuji? The woman did say she’d like to delve back into work this year! And what about Gaki?
We’re all well-aware of how the UFA likes to take advantage of their cash cows (i.e. Ai). Wasn’t Takahashi’s (relatively random and somewhat useless) cameo in this PV point enough? We all know why they did it, but if you’d like to refresh your minds, feel free to read the previous article. It’ll be interesting to see how exactly the group’s fate turns out. With their final concert being on March 10th at the Budokan alongside Morning Musume, it seems as though that’s the first and last time we’ll have just about all the past and present members together, sharing one stage. It would not surprise me if they decided to announce something then, but I won’t hold my breath for it.
For now, I’ll just sit back and watch the PV, listen to the song, and smile over the final product. Considering how I’m absolutely not looking forward to the new Morning Musume single in the least (but I will still support, don’t worry :P), this will have to soften the blow of disappointment for when the time actually comes. Just sit back and let these divas show you just why they are the cream of the freakin’ H!P crop.