A Midsummer (Night’s) Ray

Warning: There are YouTube videos here which may cause some browsers to freeze and crash.
Also, I can personally guarantee that by the time you’re done reading this entry, you’re going to be sick of something…

Summer May-May

Let the love birds fly tonight
Can you feel it deep inside?
Come along and sing this song
Let’s celebrate a party all night long

Well, if you’re anything like May-May in the above picture, you’re here to read the latest musings of the idol wota blogosphere. (Who can blame you?) You’re hot, sticky and sweet, tired and bothered, and you just want to relax.

Well, after configuring “a bunch of dates and times” (and wanting something to bring the first half of the year to a close before the obligatory “halfway mark” post), I’ve decided to do a summer post. Being one to one up myself and set something up for the second half when the blog does dormant due to my other “commitments”, I’ve decided to do what I’ve been doing best for the past few months: take inspiration from my IW roots and dedicate an entire summer to rest, relaxation, and rumble fish.

And what better entrance into the sweltering heat of summer… than…

Manatsu no Kousen!

*the International Wota crowd anime falls*

Yes, that song is going to be the focus of this post (for lack of a better choice of summer theme – and by the time some came, the idea of a series was already set in stone with this as the first post. Gomenne). Besides, it’s a song that was mentioned in three coverage posts. It’s not much compared to the rest in the IWSRP tag (50%, 42.8% if the announcement is counted), but it’s enough to imprint the song into my mind when it comes to a good summer-themed post.

Before I do anything, I must apologize for the trollerific antics inherent in this post and the above statements. Especially to Ray, who is essentially the main reason M3 2.0 has anything resembling a readership outside of WordPress. On another note, as mentioned in the caveat, you’ll probably be sick of this song by the time you’re doing reading this post.

Heh, I was going to cover that song in a possible series detailing Morning Musume’s singles as part of a celebration of my 11th year in the fandom (which starts between August and November, depending on whether you consider Shabondama or Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~ as my first single).

Okay, it’s springtime in Japan and H!P (rather, Morning Musume, Heike Michiyo, and anyone else in that club at the time) is reeling from the very first graduation in H!P history. The thought on everyone’s mind is after the somberfest that is Memory Seishun no Hikari, what’s next for our band of girls and how will they rebound from Asukacchi’s departure?

Manatsu no Kousen is the sunny, easy, breezy, beautiful answer to that question. Featuring an upbeat mood, blithe lyrics, and the wonderfully eye-opening vocals of the Morning Girls (who were known for being powerhouses at the time), we see our Supremes of the Rising Sun harmonically spread the ray of midsum— No, endless, endless summer.

Much Ado about the Video

With an opening shot of palm trees and sights of MM in a bubble (or is it a crystal ball?), we see our girls on their way to endless summer. Due to the age of the PV, some of the members (Nacchi, Yaguchi, Kaorin, Yuko, etc) would look a little strange to some – and some of you may not even recognize some Musume (hiya Aya!). iN the second verse, we see our girls play in a pool. Compared to recent PVs, there is obviously a bigger budget (or rather, less skimping on one) and more risks taken. (I mean, they’re at a beach and let’s not forget the bubbles. Fans b☆h and moan about there not being enough actual outdoor scenes in recent H!P vids. Rather, recent MM vids.) We end this PV with a shot of our girls playing in the water as the sun sets.
Take a look out there, planets everywhere.

We’re in the Ori(con)

Now, this part is for those who view sales as the be-all-end-all: Released on May 12, 1999, the single reportedly sold 122,610 copies in its first week to get a #3 weekly ranking on the Oricon charts¹². In its second week, 33,800 copies were sold for a #12 ranking. While sales dwindled each week (as the novelty and hype died down), the TRS for MnK is 235,010 with 47.83% coming from post-first week sales (meaning 52.17% of TRS came in the first week).
This is 175,840 or 42.80% less than the TRS for its predecessor’s 410,850 with 47.64% coming from the first week³.

Random Commentary

In honor of the milestone 50th single, Nakazawa Yuko gave a comment about the song (though you’re welcome to translate – I’m no Hennka and in spite of over 11 years of self-teaching, I am far from being able to understand everything).

As an aside, this is the first single to have a title completely in Japanese (if you don’t count the first two singles in which while they have “English” titles, they’re technically in Japanese).

 Under Cover

I present you now with this cover by Gaki-san and Kamei-san. (Thinking about my nickname for her is reminding me of that pic I made of her with a turtle’s body.)

Here is Nacchi’s performance from a birthday concert in 2008 with a jazzy, Latinate flavor.

Speaking of which, I shall now dish out the covers done as part of the Hello Cover series: Kamei Eri (released on her HC album on December 8, 2010), Okai Chisato (released as a single on December 10, 2010), and Niigaki Risa (released on her album on January 26, 2011). I’d also have Tanaka Reina’s version (released as a single on January 26, 2011) among this, but I couldn’t find it on YouTube.
Honorable mention goes to the Hawaiian version, a live version of which can be seen here. (I couldn’t find the stereo version):

Another one goes to this performance featuring Kaorin and Maeda Yuki (the enka singer, not the Whiteberry) from 2006:

I leave you guys with these fan playing their instruments to the song. I think they’re doing a good job of keeping up, what do you think?

I think the 未完成 version is from the same guy, but I love the virtuosity in teh fast few moments. Plus, you get a sense of the drum work.

Personally speaking, the below guitar cover is giving me serious Acoustic Alchemy vibes. Must be the soothing sound and delicate handling.
(Imagine my surprise to find it’s the handiwork of jinryuichi of HNPH fame. I dunno if I told you or not, but that was one of my favorite blogs back in the day and probably one of the ones that inspired me to blog in the first place. Help me, I’m getting nostalgic…)

(On another note, if UFA feels a need to add talent to their live bands, I think we’ve found some candidates. ↑)
The bottom cover is from and “Lexmarkz and The Gangs”. I’m reminded of the work of Carlos Santana. (Must be the guitar.)

To provide a nice segue into the future (possibly the next installment), I’ll also leave you with this rarity: “ENDLESS SUMMER” from Tara McDonald from the cover album Cover Morning Musume!.

Keep your feet on the ground and reach for the stars, Magical Meteorites.

– Magi-Kat

P.S. Due to the fact this post is stuffed as it is, I’ll review “Koi no Shihatsu Ressha” at another date.

7 Responses to A Midsummer (Night’s) Ray

  1. […] A Midsummer (Night’s) Ray – Magi-Kat presents “Morning Meteora” Kat takes us back to Intl Wota’s past again, as she shares the greatest summer single Morning Musume’s ever done – and variations thereof. Also, if you haven’t read the IW links she provides, I suggest you do – they’re a lot of fun. […]


  2. […] post was made in light of how Manatsu no Kousen, the A-side who kickstarted this series, is noted as the only summer-themed single of Morning Musume. Quite an interesting observation, […]


  3. […] June 30: A Midsummer (Night’s) Ray […]


  4. […] not exactly on the beach, but it’s out of necessity. After all, we began this series with a picture (one a heck of a lot nicer than this one) so we’ll end this series with one. Thanks […]


  5. […] missed one or two), I compiled a list of numbers and ended up with one extra. That extra one became a summer themed post that kicked off the Summer Refreshment series, inspired by the Intl Wota Summer Refreshment […]


  6. […] this year alone. I had considered taking a break to focus on certain things but leaving you guys on a summer lead-in ate at me and then news started to come in during the fall. Plus, I wanted to take a […]


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