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. Also, possible epilepsy warnings about some images, but they’ll also be in the links.
Greetings, Magical Meteorites and other Earthlings who happened to drop by!
We’re at the fourth score of the Precision Past Perspective Edition of Ping Pong Pinpoint. In this post, we cover the year 2012, the end of the world as we know it! Do you feel fine?
After 2011 and the game-changing events therein, we start
with an earthquake, birds and snakes and airplanes the “Apocalyptic Era.” For some fans, the world is still ending or will end. However, the time has come to carve out a new future into the great unknown and Lenny Bruce, Langston Hughes, and Tsunku are not afraid!
- 18 – Buono kick things off with their double A-side single.
While the concept of Hatsukoi Cider (whose title keeps reminding me of Renai Rider, due to its structure) is simple, the song itself is pretty nice (in spite of its simpicity. I admire the transitional efforts using the girls in their grayscale background. The fact that Buono and the band are the only things with color around, it gives the video a nice monochromatic effect. Brilliant work, guys.
DEEP MIND, in contrast is more energetic and “hard.” The PV is also “darker,” featuring Buono and co. company in a rather… unique stage. May I also have permission to admit that I love their outfits in this vid, though Miya’s hair accessory sorta make her look like a punk bride.
- 25 –
The Morning Girls begin their year… in style? This single has a rather eccentric history.
While I have seen my share of MM outfits over the years, this takes it to stranger levels. I can see why folks hated the sheer cutesy and silly aspects of it . (This was the kind of release folks had “hoped” Maji Desu ka Ska would be, instead of that badass mess. These kids are ruining the groove of MM with their youth. GTFO kids! Let Morning Musume age and di—TOO SOON TOO SOON TOO SOON). Then again, if I can tolerate LALALA Shiawase no Uta (which isn’t a bad song), I can grow to like
PokopokoPyocopyoco Ultra again(especially with such a fitting gif that seems to go with the music – and it’s meant to go with a comment on the effects!). On that note, gotta admire the effort put into this PV. It’s not everyday you see projections (even if it came out bad, like the aforementioned gif) and the illusion of Mini- MoniMusume.
- 01 –
We now enter the post-Yuukarin era. After a turbulent year that saw five members join and three members leave, S/mileage needed to get their footing down. Unfortunately, they didn’t do that in Choto Mate Kudasai!. Well, in the sense that their dances are of a more stumbling nature. The song itself is wonderful with nice outfits to boot!
- 08 –
“Sorry for Being
C-ute sends out their seventh chapter in Dainana Shou “Utsukushikutte Gomen ne”. One notable track here is “Shiawase no Tochuu,” reason being… well… stick around, right?
- 22 –
TheBerryz crank over their eighth collection, . This album is of note because of the song “Because happiness.” It wouldn’t be a big deal if not for the fact that a special… trick the song has. Right.
- 22 – Simultaneous to this release is Mano Erina’s DokiDoki Baby/Tasogare Kousaten.
A more energetic song from Mano, who takes us to the backstreets of Akihabara to bring us her dokidoki-licious half on a baby. Among Mano fare, this the closest (since probably Seishun no Serenade) she has come to being totally Tsunku-fied. It’s hard to notice at times, but Mano’s material has a tendency to be written by people other than Tsunku. At least she has girls on film in kimonos.
Don’t make me sing that Vapors song. It’s totally uncalled for here.
As for the B-side. MAN ALERT! MAN ALERT! CUE THE VIRGIN ALARM! Jokes aside, it’s a nice and mellow song (contrasting from the genki Baby). The PV itself tells a story of Mano and her beau going through a slightly rough patch in their relationship. .
- 22 – Simultaneous to this release is Mano Erina’s DokiDoki Baby/Tasogare Kousaten.
- 21 –
Be Genki . Be Lively! >. Words we should take to heart here.
On another note, it is at this point that I had stopped paying attention to the Berryz. I can’t explain why though, but I couldn’t find it in me to follow them like I used to. Even with the Berryz looking for a septet of superheroines (a possible callback to a certain single that made them look more like Little Monsters than heroines?).
On another note, in spite of this song almost made me pay attention again. In fact, now that I think about it, I was in and out of Berryz for a while and this single threatened to get me back. I mean… it’s a cute/happy/genki song and they Berryz are dressed as superheroes!
Erina never ceases to surprise us with the name of her album, More Friends Over. To be honest, I thought it would be “Even More Friends,” but I suppose it’ll suffice. MoFO!
- 11 –
Risa’s final call (along with Aika’s) came with this single, Renai Hunter. Aika is a polarizing figure, as this vlog brutally puts out. *hides from Vee’s wrath* (All that you said was true, by the way.)
- 18 –
We now ride along to Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku. Ah yes, this release. Like SHOCK, this too caused quite a stir in the fandom/wota communities… and like the last time, it was centered on Suzuki Airi. Why? This time, it’s about the fact that she spent a good portion of this video in close contact with a boy. OMG! An idol is portrayed as dating, in an MV no less! Quick, grab the dolls and search the net for that guy’s address so we can—Uh yeah, you get the idea.
- 02 –
The S/mileys show off their summer offering, Dot Bikini (completely with title articles!). The first few seconds caused a bit of a stir regarding the suggestive nature of the (possible epilepsy warning) .
Yeah. (If you don’t see this blog in the future, click on the dancing Aika to find out what she’s unveiling.)
Anyway… SMILING STAAAAAAAAAAART! The music reminds me of Super Mario or just Nintendo or video games. (Fitting as E3 is coming up this month. Before we wonder about idol games… wait, there was Project Diva and Idolmaster. I betcha- No, I said I’d refrain from such statement for the rest of this series. Just think of the glorified box set that is Space Venus.)
LOVE LOVE LOVE Tropicana~!
- 04 – Out of the blue, Aika announces her graduation. I had always cheered on Aika, even during the onslaught of haters detractors who say she’s ugly, forgettable, undeserving of the Musume name, etc. Well, I would say more about it and I really do care about Aika and had hoped she wouldn’t graduate due to injury (my worst fear), but again… Vee put it best.
- 18 – The day of reckoning had finally come for fans: Risa Niigaki’s graduation (and Aika‘s too). To commemorate the event (as with Takahashi before her), Risa had gotten to do a final solo cut. On a brighter note, the search for the
NakedMakeup-less Diva[s] was announced!
- 30 –
The S/mileys release their first best-of, chronicling their minor league ballgames and major league successes.
- 05 – On this day, a royal proclamation was made regarding the Queen: a rock’n roll-yal (see if you can come up with anything better) band is to be created and the search is on for members. This, of course, came with inevitable speculation as to Her Morning Majesty’s abdication. (Anyone else noticing a pattern regarding the auditions?)
- 20 –
Remember those “happy” songs? Well, it turns out we wota have experienced the Hidden Song. So much for idol music being throwaway crap, right? In any case, .
We see Momoko and Airi take their respective group’s album and put them in a stereo.
We then see the interaction and intermingling that a hybrid song like this can bring.
How can you not be happy?
- 27 –
We come to Mano Erina’s penultimate single, Song for the DATE. Another casualty to the modern “H!P-step” (pronounced “hupstep” – or “hipstep” if you wanna get more literal) trend in current music. Starting off with robotic Title Drops, we skip into dubstepesque goodness. The more somber nature of the song has led to some to claim that it is the *true* graduation song (and made some wonder if this is her last single – we were proven wrong).
As for the video, in between seeing Mano on a beach, we see her running around what looks like an abandoned/semi-demolished location. (Why am I reminded on Sucker Punch?) This PV is certainly among the more “artsy” of MVs, the two Erinas being interpreted as two sides of the girl and the concept being looked at as symbolic of her career (especially with how “Yami Mano” keeps ripping apart various posters of herself). With how “Kuro Mano” is following “Shiro Mano” like a rabbit, one can even interpret it as an Alice Allusion.
However, I can only say so much. Take a look at the comments on the YouTube video for some really good in-depth analysis of the video. For example, take a look at this super in-depth analysis frompinoymanofriend (my apologies in advance!):
Analysis (1/5) Yey! =) After some time of thinking what the MV means, I finally came up with an analysis. Here’s what I think … The MV shows Mano-chan’s transformation from her young, playful, old self – the White Mano … into a matured, “ready for a date” self – the Back Mano. You can see the playful personality of the White Mano throughout the video (like the way she runs, and the way she taunts the Black Mano). So yes, the Black and White colors has nothing to do with being Good or Bad.
Analysis (2/5) The plot starts at 0:19, when the Black Mano was trapped in a web-like structure. This represents that Mano’s matured self was still kept within her, and wasn’t free yet. She then looks at this matured self within her with fear in her eyes (represented when she moves her hand across her face, and the colorful smile is replaced by a colorless fearful face, 0:32). So the White Mano, being afraid of the possible outcome that could happen if she lets go of her old self, runs away.
Analysis (3/5) But the matured self within her now feels that she’s ready. So at 0:50, she sets herself free. From here, we can see her struggle of whether or not she will remain as her old self, or become her new matured self (the chasing represents this long struggle). It’s her fear of what might change in her life (fear is represeted by the change from a colorful smile, into a colorless fearful face in 0:32, 1:24, 1:47, 3:10) that makes her undecided if she’ll be her matured self.
Analysis (4/5) Finally, in 3:17, the White Mano starts singing. This shows that the Black and Mano finally merged into one. She finally gave way to bring out her matured self. So what did the White Mano do? She actually changed her clothes. She undresses, removes her White clothes & shoes at 3:28, and wears black. Yes, the current Black Mano singing is her new self, with the new black clothes, but haven’t put up her shoes yet (that’s why she’s still holding her shoes from start 0:05, 3:48).
Analysis (5/5) She then burns her old posters – a sign that she lets go of her old self. So here’s the new Mano, now matured … ready for “The Date”. Well, that’s my personal analysis, just an opinion.ü I wonder if this MV is Erina in real life. I remembered last year when she released “My Days For You”, she was speaking about being matured (youtube.com/watch?v=2VDd7Qw_i6o). That time, she was wearing White.=) So now, in this new MV, could this actually be her verge to maturity?
Here is another example from Ηλειος Κὀροιβος (apologies in advance!):
In my view, the black dress Mano is also her real (intention) self.
An idol is given a certain image style in advance, and then she makes her debuit. Our favorite idol is literally an “idol” as statue.
So, in a way, I think it obliges such girls to unfreedom. In spite of such a hard thing, they give us a lot of bright smiles .
At the beginning of this MV, the black Mano’s being tied with the ropes means that her real self had been sealed until that time.
Through tearing off and burning her made-up “smile” posters, the black real Mano denies her previous self.
It’s a metaphor of wearing the mask named “smile” that the white Mano changes her facial expression through moving her hand.
In my opinion, I interpret this MV as a declaration to break down such her imposed image and reach a next new stage. Is it too much to say so？
Actually, Mano is studying various expressions about performances now, and is going to pursue her career in acting.
I earnestly hope that she’ll go on growing up into a real actress.
Mano’s album titles till now are “FRIENDS” → “MORE FRIENDS” → “More Friends Over” (“FRIENDS” were making progress.), while currently the titles including “DATE” go on ― “UP TO DATE”(DVD), “MANO DATE”(photo album), “Song for the DATE”.
In short, Mano terminated FRIENDS ERA in “More FRIENDS Over”, and is entering a new upper phase called “DATE”
And further, it means that the relationship between Mano and her fans has grown from “relation of friend” to “closer relation enough to have a date “, I guess.
Indeed we can’t make the accurate judgment by only the lastest three works, but no wonder we are aware of her (maybe small) change from the viewpoint of such words as catchphrase, as well as the difference among her MVs and songs
Since all the letters of “DATE” are written in capitals, I think we can suppose that “DATE”means something particular.
Are we feeling fine yet, right?
- Sometime during this month, the first wave of the Satoyama Movement began. Donning their Planeteer shirts, our Hello! Girls try to spread the message of protecting the countryside or
they’ll f☆king kill you. I wish I can write more about this, but this may warrant a future post of its own. CAPTAIN PLANET!
- 04 – We come to a milestone event in Morning Musume’s history. While Risa had left before this moment, we reach a new turning point in the Morning Musume Monogatari: the 50th single. What shall that be? Look no further, reader, than One・Two・Three/The Matenrou Show.
Put into context the small previews we’ve received prior to the reveal of this full video, it is easy to see why many took issue with the effects. (This is also why I preferred to wait until the actual PV came out as to not be influenced by previews – because I know I would end up as pitchingly disappointed as the rest of the blogosphere. The Dance Shot spoiled us immensely.)
I do admit the effect of turning the girls around like dolls was a nice touch. (Collect all 10 while supplies last!)
Looking at this with fresh eyes, I don’t seem to see it as that bad really. Blasphemy! BURN THE WITCH!
Also, never has Riho been featured so much. Wait, spoke too soon.
This first single into the Michishige era where we dive deeper into the new “Electro/Robo-Musume” sound. When we had gotten our first taste, many have compared the sound to K-Pop (a comparison that will never cease to this day), in addition to dubstep.
And this is just one side, the main one promoted.
As for the second A-side, the song is a funky pop song a la Kono Chikyuu and “Golden Era” MM. …I really want/need to say more, but there’s only so much.
As for PV coverage, probably the best one is the above – and it’s a dance shot.
On another note, this marks the beginning of a trend: multiple b-sides up the wazoo.
- 12 – If you believed that 2012 was the Year of the Apocalypse, then today was the beginning of the end times for Mano fans: Erina’s graduation was announced today. Over the course of the next few months, preparations was made for Erina’s last single, between its announcement and the special casting of FC members as extras. Heh, I think I’ll save that for the PV itself as this came at a shock to all. Just as we had gotten accustomed to her.
- 25 –
Our next stop down Memory Lane takes us to the midway point between Tokyo and Bangkok in cha cha SING, the Berryz’s love letter to Thailand (which they had been traveling to quite often at the time).
I had long meant to take a look at this. Now is the chance! Seriously, this is the first time I’ve taken a serious look at this PV.
The closest exposure to Thai pop music I had was the material of China Dolls (of
which this song would not be out of place in. For extra fun, go listen to their material as released in the rest of the Sinosphere).
The set and outfit remind me of Happy Summer Wedding (in a good way) if it went to their beloved Thailand.
Regardless, call me interested and shame on me for neglecting this song. I mean, it’s the first international cover Berryz did (and I know for a fact that I’ve covered that on the old blog).
Kudos to the Berryz and let’s see how things progress from here.
- 22 –
We start off August, the day after my birthday no less, with S/mileage’s Suki yo, Junjou Hankouki。.
…So we see our S/mileys in a ballroom, in between them posing with pouty expressions or being in a sunlight-infested room. …What are they trying to achieve here? I rally wish there was more to say here, but that’s it.
I guess I’d might as well admit my slight boredom with this song (it needs to be in the back of my mind when I look at the cover and think of anything besides “Suki yo Suki yo Suki yo…”).
- 22 –
Also released on this day was Buono’s mini-album SHERBET. This mini-album sports X tracks, including…
Never gonna stop! In between girls being girls (in normal clothes), our girls are sporting pastel clothes in “idol” mode in a room full of speakers. On another note, Airi, Miyabi, and Momoko’s voices have all improved substantially. (I must admit that one thing that turned me away from Berryz for a good while was Momoko’s voice – and Risako’s, to a later extent.)
On another note, as a nice touch, the last third or make a nod to Buono’s French connection. Bon !
- 22 –
- 05 –
C-ute give us their final single cut for the year: Aitai Aitai Aitai na. Fortunately, Maimi’s wearing shorts and totally isn’t wearing a skirt. When I saw the title, I thought of their Christmas single. I was pleasantly surprised to find that musically, it is the antithesis of “Lonely Christmas.” The ominous organ and chorus highlight the seriousness of the girls’ plight. Between posing and dancing, the are… moping and pouting. Okay, I know I’m reviewing H!P, who are known for their threadbare PVs in the Modern Era, but why am I unable to come up with something substantial to say about them (the PVs) as of late? As I ponder that conundrum, let’s move on.
- 12 –
13 is not an unlucky number for Morning Musume as they show off their colorful character. Oops, sorry, ⑬ Colorful Character. This album is most likely (?!) the namesake of the “Colorful Era” we’re in (because we love naming eras after albums and junk, am I right?) Sporting badass tracks like the now-famous “What’s up? Ai wa Dou na no yo~” (one of my favorite album songs btw) and “BE ALIVE,” we experience a more complete, complex picture of MM.
- 14 – The search for the Makeup-less Diva ended as it would be decided that as far as the 11th Generation is concerned, THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! There was a lot of controversy concerning the reveal as it was believed that the winner was revealed just after the finalists were. (There was a clip of additional content, but it wasn’t mentioned much. I would go for it now, but they and the associated YouTube accounts of the uploaders have been lost to the YouTube Cops.) There was also the fact that the sole winner was an Egg.
- 10 –
Morning Musume continue the 2013 narrative with their 51st, Wakuteka Take a chance. Less of a sparkly mess than One Two Three, but like before we were spoiled (rotten, I might add) by the various versions released prior to the official MV. Needless to say, this single has been given a lot of hype in the buildup. In a sense, “Password is 0” is the revenge of “Take a Chance.” As with many, the flames reminded me of Iroppoi and Kimagure (the bookends to the
Fifth Horseman of the ApocalypseMiracle’s tenure). I will admit that the “fluorescent jailbars” were strange. Then again, this is H!P. You’d might as well take the Red Pill with some “EAT ME” cake and wash it down with some “DRINK ME.” If you are reading this (particularly out of love for H!P), you’ve pretty much done all three and are at least now so knee-deep down the Rabbit Hole you’re having a mad tea party with a special guest spot by the Caterpillar. FEED YOUR HEAD~
Also, you know you’re loved by the agency when you’re given your own version of a single that isn’t your debut in the group.
- 18 – We have been brought news regarding our precious Queen Tanaka! Her rock ‘n roll-yal subjects have been named. However, the abdication of her place among the H!P Court was also announced. None were amused, even if we saw it coming a mile away.
On this day, C-ute released a special kind of best-of album: a self-cover best album – ② °C-ute Shin Seinaru Best Album. Since their lineup changes weren’t as dramatic as, let’s say, Morning Musume, there’s probably little difference but improvement in voice quality. That would probably be the attraction, especially since their indie releases also had gotten this treatment. Nostalgists rejoice!
- 28 –
S/mileage leave us in the cold with their next cut, Samui ne。, for they are responsible for this year’s “Waaaaahhhhh I’m so lonely at
Christmastimewintertime” single. I’m also very glad I wasn’t the only one who found it strange that S/mileage is complaining about cold in rather “skimpy” outfits. (It’s almost reminiscent of Mini Moni’s Pyon Aliens. Hmmm…)
Let’s try not to pay attention to the Aliens who are able to comprehend Terran atmospheric conditions (that or they have taken on the form of S/mileage very badly and are miming their words).
What? Sure, this is H!P, where hookah-smoking caterpillars and talking pink-eyed white rabbits reign supreme, alongside girls dressed as chicks and a hat-themed outfit that Mother Monster would approve. Surely, we have seen weirder, but that is just too weird to not shapeshifting aliens!
- 12 –
The apocalypse has come early for Mano fans as her final H!P single hits the streets: NEXT MY SELF.
The culmination of various efforts… the tour, the casting call… We see various “extras” (read: fans and the others) grace Erina’s videospace (neverminding the fact she spends a good portion of her final H!PV dressed like she’s getting married).
Awkward title aside, it’s a nice song and a good send-off for Mano.
On another note, this PV is very translator- and lyric archivist-friendly. 😉
If only this amount of effort is put into other PVs.
- 19 –
The Berryz close out the year with WANT! What was your resolution for 2012? An electro-pop song a la the current material of the Mothership Connection, we see our Berry Workshop dance in front of an… eye. Other shots have our girls in their rooms (or a carousel of rooms).
I’m not even going to get into how Risako doesn’t even look like a J-idol at times with that ‘do. Did the Berryz swap out Riisako with a—
…Welp, so much for the so-called Mayan Apocalypse! Well, to the fandom, it’d might as well be. However, just as the Mayans cranked over another one, so have we. Next time, we’re going to cover the post-apocalyptic era, 2013!
Space Cowboy Magical Meteorites! Hope you feel fine!