T3B3: Morning Musume

Morning Musume, an all-girl Japanese pop music group, heads up this first in a series of upcoming posts ranking my top 3 and bottom 3 favorites of something. Specifically: my favorite PVs, and why ^_^ And to be fair, I’m only really considering PVs after 2000, when Nozomi/Ai and Yossie began showing up — because for me, that’s when MoMusu really began. There are some good and bad before that, but the group didn’t seem really fleshed out and they were still just poking around trying this new thing. But anyway, given that:

Top 3 Morning Musume PVs (no particular order)

Kanashimi Twilight
This PV seems to strike the perfect balance between dance shots and closeups, offers some solid vocals in a predictable but pleasant pattern, and offers a guitar solo that often gives me the goosebumps when I hear it due to the great build-up prior and a smoth transition. Despite my fondness for it, I would not likely rank this as one I’d suggest watching for an introduction to the group due to the almost overly “leggy” sections. It’s also very pink, but there’s enough color in the outfits to balance out the bright neon backdrop, I think. From a trivia-historical context, it was one of the first times we got to hear the then-new Mitsui perform a few lines of her own (such as at 1:03), and it was suggested this would be Yossie’s final PV. The end practically confirms it by giving us a long sneaky stare from her, as a “Yoshizawa was here” signature.

Sexy Boy

I like this one, but would find it rather difficult to suggest it, in person, to one of my guy friends, as a recommendation. The outfits are super simple and the backdrop isn’t especially thought provoking, but it somehow works. It’s possibly the first video I thought Niigaki captured my attention (not having much eye for her prior), and the only visual downside I can find to the PV itself is the slightly distracting edge of the ceiling in the back, where white corrugated metal meets a rounded wall for a weird blackened corner. The slow glances to the camera’s direction are almost terrifying, but in a rip-your-heart-out, fun kind of way (making for a few good animated avatars I’ve seen on MoMusu message boards).

Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari 2

I’ve watched this one dozens and dozens of times, and have sometimes used it as background music on repeat when I’m cleaning up the house. It’s quick and peppy, stuck-in-your-head catchy, and follows a fun pattern. It’s almost a frame story, in a way — a bunch of friends all riding the same bus, and the party going on in their heads as they try to pass the time waiting for the bus to reach its destination, and then the PV ends as they begin start filing out at the stop. The meter of the stanzas (which don’t seem to change key much) are almost identical aside from subject matter, reciting a few lines about each group member, offering us a little insight into the actual character of everyone instead of being a general-message video. Also enjoyed the brief reference (2:31) to the Nozomi-Kago splinter group “W” when the pair are before the camera side by side (indicated by a side-by-side peace sign forming a W, followed by two 3-finger W’s).

Bottom 3 Morning Musume PVs (no particular order)

Mr. Moonlight

Aside from decent outfits, and swoon-worthy camera glances from Abe and Maki, this one mostly just leaves me wondering, “…what?” I’m all for some actual musical instruments being used — but this is J-pop — not Chucku Berryu and the Tamagachis. I’m almost completely disinterested in stage-performed musicals, and this one seems to just poke at that sore place, repeatedly. Instead of the normal, cohesive PV that I’m used to, I’m subjected to a PV that feels more like a highlight reel from crummy amateur attempt at broadway. And then there’s that minute or so toward the end with the drum major outfits, before going back to the regular outfits. What was that all about? The Ow-Ow-Ow-Ow back-and-forth just prior to that had me thinking, “this passed muster at the ideas table? Yeesh.” And Yossie — I like you a lot. A lot. But please never try to be anything similar to Elvis ever again.

Onna ni Sachi Are

I really did like the background music on this, and much prefer the instrumental over the sung version. A friend of mine considered this one “too yellow” but for me, or at least every version I’ve seen of this PV, the music never seems to line up right with onscreen movements, and the attempt to sound clever by starting phrases with a lead up to the first beat of a measure just feels too stretched. Not being a fan of the on-stage musical as noted in Mr. Moonlight, the outfits here remind me of a Vegas showgirl get-up and don’t really do anything for me. Instead of looking at the camera (or me, perhaps) the daughters of the morning keep looking off to the side, and it’s like I’m talking to someone while they’re doing something else more interesting and just nodding, “yeah. uh-huh. okay.” I have always understood “baka” to mean “idiot”, and I can’t say I’m particularly dreamy-eyed at cuties who mouth “idiot” to me =P

Pepper Keibu

Although I really do like this particular tune, I’m just not in love with this video. Again with the stage-musical bit, plus the camera angle seems almost a little too close, and mostly, there’s just way. too. much. shoulder. movement. Also, the’re almost an awkwardness in watching it, as if there’s just way too much leg being seen here (not to mention leg meat flopping around, which is funny to type). It was the first video I that JunJun had much caught my eye, I’ll give it that much. The shoulder-bobbing motion is just peculiar (coupled with the jingly-ness of the outfits), and the see-saw movement when they touch their shoulders seems hastily added just to be doing something. I certainly have nothing against shoulders, mind you, but I’d rather just play this in the background and not have to watch it anymore.

Feel free to object to my unjustified assertions, agree with my profound wisdom, or post your top3/bottom3 in the comments below ^_^

2 thoughts on “T3B3: Morning Musume

  1. Off the top of my head and without explanation:

    1) Do It! Now
    2) Namida ga Tomarunni Hougako
    3) Koko ni Iruzee

    1) Onna ni Sachi Are
    2) The full version of Shouganai Yume Oibito (love the dance shot, though)
    3) hmm…maybe As for One Day?

  2. Yikes. I had never seen Koko ni Iruzee to my recollection, but I had seen photos of them with the dirt on their faces and wondered where they came from. Quite possibly one of Konno’s cutest moments. Can’t go wrong with the army boots. Your #2 doesn’t surprise me either (I always call it “the archery one” although the fact that they don’t use forearm guards is a little irritating) due to the heavy screen time of you know who. #3 is a little to glammy for me, although I have no argument against a slinky Takahashi. Mmm.

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