Warning: There will be a LOT of YouTube videos in this series, which may cause some browsers to lag and/or crash. You’ve been warned. If I missed anything, let me know.
Greetings, Magical Meteorites and other Earthlings who happened to drop by!
We’re at part two of the Precision Past Perspective Edition of Ping Pong Pinpoint. In this post, we cover the year 2010.
Hoo boy, what a year.
- 06 –
SHOCK! This single was released to a rather “shocking” amount of controversy, owing to the fact it was essentially C-ute’s “Furusato” or “Akai Freesia” (it may or may not help that the title flower is the lead singer’s birth flower). One blog (at least) joked hat it wasn’t a C-ute release so much as it was a “Suzuki Airi feat C-ute” release.
- 24 –
C-ute’s aptly named fifth album, Shocking 5 , dropped. Some would say it describes the group as a whole (or not) in light of last month’s offerings. To help with promotion, one of the songs from the album had gotten a PV of its own. How cute.
- 03 –
Our Songs: A hearty rock song that is sure to make the most hungry of Buono! fan satisfied.
- 10 –
We now enter the glorious post-Koharu era with Morning Musume’s fashionable Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai. Some would wonder what had happened if she stayed. Eh, whatever. This is about the first post-graduation single in years. We see these lovely ladies strut into the room and get even more dolled up than they already are. (Incoming irony at the fact this very thing helps sets the stage for—FORESHADOWING ALERT!) Gotta love the fashion themes here, though I will admit that at times… I saw the flowers on their dresses as blood and envisioned theMusume asvampiresses. Blame my love for Dracula, a tale that can be easily transplanted into the world of idols.
- 24 –
Here she is, rocking like a hurricane with Haru no Arashi. A breezy, but somber song… for February. (Then again, there’s the fact that seasons work on another level on the Japanese calendar.) Erina begins at her piano and some YMCA-licious dance moves. The visuals are muted in a bleached, nearly powder pastel manner. As Erina sings about the storm in her heart (or something of that nature), we see her move into a room and… do stuff. Ye gods, why am I having a hard time finding stuff to write. Am I a bad blogger, a bad reviewer?
- 03 –
The Inazuma Era marches on for the Berryz with their latest flash of lightning, Otakebi Boy WAO! Put on your war paint and wave the white flag! WAO WAO WAO WAO WAO WAO… The last bit somewhat confused people: Was it is “Oh yeah Oh yeah” or “Oh yeah otakebi”? (We now know it’s the latter, especially if you listen veeeeery carefully.) On another note, the concept of having the Berryz in an apocalyptic wasteland of thunder and lightning (which they purify with the power of Berryz) in pink fatigues was a brilliant way to drive the point across (especially after they sire life into a planet).
I used to wonder what friendship could b—Um, anyway, here’s the not-so-lightning-fied side of the latest fruit from the Berryz: Tomodachi wa Tomodachi Nanda! We see the girls… just being girls. Did you know you’re all my very best frieeeeeeeends? ♪
- 14 –
S/mileage’s final stop on the road to majordom is Otona ni Narutte Muzukashii!!! Now, thanks to a certain anime, I’ve became extremely acquainted with the song. (It’ll help in the long run with name/brand recognition, which might’ve had a role in their smashing initial success in the big leagues.)
As for the video itself, we’re treated to… just cuteness. It’s like watching a collage come to life. Tis a good way to end the indies days, eh? (I really wish there was more I could say about the PV.)
- 17 –
Ah, the first post-Koharu post-graduation album in years: 10 MY ME. (The title makes more sense in Japanese, natch.) We’re now getting to the point where most album songs are easily remembered/reference in wota culture. (Again, natch. We’re coming closer to present day.) One track that particularly interested me to no end was the kickin’ opener, which had gotten quite the treatment on tour as it turned MM into bunny MGs and sparked a dance sequence with some rather… interesting moments.
- 31 –
Very much like the C-uties naming their upcoming album after their latest single, the Berryz follow suit with 6th Otakebi Album. Less war paint and white flags, but they changed like a remix.
- 28 –
What college student didn’t relate to this song? Given the fact the single was released as students began their semesters (and graduates began their post-grad lives), I’m sure many have. Heading into the video, neverminding the scenes in costume, the C-uties depict a perfect portrait of Campus Life. (See what I did there?) Ah, the nostalgia…. Okay, it’s also a love song, but we had our college crushes.
Let’s move on to the next single, shall we?
- 12 –
Erina continued down the electro-pop road with Onegai Dakara…. In true H!P manner (and Erina ritual), she subjects us to the audio-visual equivalent of Mood Whiplash with how her non-DS scenes clash with the DS, in addition to the lyrics. Then again, countless videos do that so what am I complaining about? If anything, it’s (staged) behind the scenes stuff.
On another note, is it wrong that I was reminded at times of Hatsune Miku in terms of her voice and the general style of this song?
- 26 –
The now-famous shimmering debut major single of S/mileage, Yumemiru Fifteen, made the scene on this day. It’s another simple video, but… but it works. Just imagine the shines of the curtains as part of the dream. (Plus, you’re gonna have to get use to the sparkles. At least they’re not vampires.)
This is highlighted during the silhouette scenes and then the sudden shift to a black BG at 3:00. This emphasizes the sadness of the 15-year-old’s dream. (Do you remember what you dreamt of when you were that age?)
- 09 –
The Morning Girls get more fashionable with a breezy, outdoor PV for their next single, Seishun Collection. This single, the theme song for their musical (which actually is a premonition of things to come), features an uplifting message. Also, just like the mopey Shouganai Yume Oibito of yesteryear, the b-side is the theme of their overseas trip (though we don’t get a PV for the tune). (Again, the song becomes significant in the future.)
- 16 –
There’s… actually not much to report here. The anime opening (footage of which is incorporated into this PV) would actually make a better PV than this. I know it’s an anime song, but there have been anime singles done better. Even of a certain one involving—moving on!
- 02 –
Morning Musume went to the City of Love and Lights for the Japan Expo 2010, which they were guests of honor. After the going to LA, this was a big day for Western fans (especially in Europe). To commemorate this event, a limited edition best of singles compilation was sold (which was basically the 10th anniversary boxset with an extra CD for the later stuff and other goodies).
- 14 –
The Berryz’ summer fruit, Maji Bomber!, is a rocker-iffic offering that actually would be right at home in the Buono! collection. (Barely helps that “Hop! Step! Jump!” are the last three words in the second verse. Well, considering two thirds of the group are here….)
- 28 –
We hit major #2 with ○○ Ganbaranakutemo Eenende!!, a goofy song where the S/mileys channel their inner Chaplins. Gotta love the message that’s it’s okay to not be perfect (especially in a criticizing culture like Japan’s). The laidbackness is helped by the fact the song’s in Kansai-ben. (There’s a version in standard Tokyo dialect.) This is also a song that speaks to me as I have a tendency to give at least 100% in anything and everything I do – to the point that I get burnout and end up half-assing it towards the end, followed by beating myself up for it (and doing so regardless).
- 10 – Buono release their best of album, The BEST Buono!
- 25 –
The C-utes luckily exploded onto the dancefloor with their 13th single, Dance de Bakoon! (or BaCooN!! as spelled in the PV). We start off the party with a between the legs shot and then they work their magic as they murder on the floor. The song is fittingly danceable and fun. The vocals also hows noticeable improvement. In the second verse, the C-uties who off their white outfits Marilyn-style. One thing I’ve also noticed is that Chisato had a lot of focus here. (Rather, even with the usual suspects, everyone is here here.)
- There was an announcement that shook the Hello! Project core to its foundation: the triple graduation of Kamei Eri, Junkun, and Linlin. However, it wasn’t just the fact that MM was losing so many members at one time that made this significant – it was the fact that for the first time in 4 years, auditions would be held for new members! The rumors and speculation can finally be put to rest.
- 15 –
Genkimono de Ikou! The song is fittingly… “genki.” However, woe be to someone who watches this with little to no idea of how diverse J-music videos are. Don’t get me started on the Director’s Cut. This release had (justifiably) gotten a reputation for having one of the weirdest PVs in recent memory. This video, the regular PV, is (save for some unexpected faces) rather sane. Definitely a song to get the crowd (i.e. concert-going wota) wound up. I am surprised (yet not so) at the sheer idol-riffic energetic nature of it all. Not at all. =P
- 29 – Onaji Jikyuu de Hataraku Tomodachi no Bijin Mama (同じ時給で働く友達の美人ママ) The Bijin Mom has got it going on… S/mileage are heading for battle against the Bijinmama [sic] (appropriately played by quintessential mom idol Nozomi Tsuji NONO), complete with candycanes! It was nice how they took advantage of how the recurrent “NONNON”‘s were reminiscent the Mama’s old nickname. In a sense one can say that a torch is being passed from one generation of cute idols to the next.
inb4 statements of the S/mileys becoming Bijin Mamas in the future.
- 11 –
The Berryz funk things up with splashes of colors in Shining Power. The color things are somewhat foreshadowing. (Also, did the Berryz play ping-pong in a previous PV? I had gotten this feeling of deja vu for some reason.) I will save what the music reminded me of for another time. Also, OMG!
ChinamiYurina’s featured here a lot! (See why I have no business reviewing Berryz vids? However, I must march on because they’re part of the program!)
- 17 –
The Morning Girls reach double fours in the singles count with their year-ending Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game. Given the title, I expected… Anyway, the outfits are absolutely fabulous! Seriously, Takahashi and co. are sporting some a la mode outfits, along with previewing a future look (see December). This feels like the end of an era, in sound, in feel… it gives off the aura. What better way to end the year and say goodbye to things the way they are with a Kimagure-styled flair affair? (This’ll definitely please the MOAR KEEMAHGOORAY crowd. Don’t get me started on the “single style preference” groups.) What’s a nice touch to top it all off? Giving the final line to graduate-to-be-at-the-time Eri. This’ll be a great opportunity to harp on the traitorous treatment of the Chinese Girls, but they’re doing much better outside of that box anyway.
Funnily enough, the last few gals featured in the PV are all graduated in recent memory (withTakahashi’s final shot having prophetic implications in hindsight). Then again, at this point, everyone qualifies (evenSayumi, as of this year).
- 17 –
As soon as the new opening showed itself, I eagerly the awaited the PV for the full song. Forgive me for being spoiled on Kirarin and the associated PVs for about most of my time as an idol-loving adolescent. Idolulu (“Idolule,” since the word is portmanteau of idol and rule*?) is a far better PV and song than its predecessor. MG themes and girly sparkles aside, the lyrics subtly (or not so much) deal with the intricacies of “idol rules” (something our girls are familiar with). Anyone see a nod to the infamous “no dating rule” in the second verse?
* For extra fun, when saying it in Japanese, say that last bit like you’re Scanty and Kneesocks.
- 17 –
- 01 –
The Morning Girls continue the imagery with their eleventh album, Fantasy! Juuichi. We seem to be on a bit of a fantasy/fancy kick this fall/winter, between the Lullaby Game looks and the Little Princesses’ offering to the J-idol canon. One standout track from this playset album is Fantasy ga Hajimaru (a vision of things to come).
What the hell am I doing?
- 01 –
Nights in white satin
Never reaching the end
Letters I’ve written
Never meaning to send
Beauty I’d always missed
With these eyes before
Just what the truth is
I can’t say anymore
Because I love you…
“I Want to Meet You This Lonely Christmas*,” cried the C-uties. As we look into their… uniquely shaped home, we see vignettes that paints their loneliness. Between the writing letters, drinking, playing with toys, and standing by the phone, and (let’s not forget) sitting outside in the snow because heartsickness killed off their sense of hot and cold. (Remember that in Japan, Christmas basically amounts to Valentine’s Day with reindeer. That’s why love songs are so common for that time of year.)
If you’ve paid attention to the auditions for Morning Musume’s Strongest Generation, you should know this song by now.
- 01 –
- 15 – the day of reckoning: the triple graduation of Kamei Eri, Junjun, and Linlin. Afterwards came a brief period where the Morning was basic to its basic number: 5. Not much became of this transitional period, which was to be heralded at the dawn of a new year, the beginning of a new era.
Well, here we are. As 2010 (and the 2010s) came and went, the scene grew. Now, tune in next time as we cover a year that truly changed the game.
Space Cowboy Magical Meteorites!