Warning: the following post contains YouTube videos. You know the deal.
Dear Citizens of the Universe,
The WordPress incarnation of
Magic Morning Meteora has hit 100 posts! After a short last minute campaign for posts, I had gotten a little response. Instead, I’ll provide you with a suggestion a friend lent to me: a post about five vids!
Using the power of math (and date calculators from TimeAndDate.com), I picked five dates between September 8, 1997 (the birth of Morning Musume) and April 16, 2015 (this past Thursday as such calculations tended not to include the end date in the calculation) and came up with the following dates:
- January, 31, 2002
- June 26, 2006
- November 19, 2010
So I’ll look into the history and review the MV for the single released nearest that date, along with some H!P history trivia. Also, due to some shenanigans (and the fact one single is a double-A side), there’s going to be more than five PVs shown. Instead, you’ll get at least eight.
I would also like to announce that if you want to follow the Berryz Memorial Survey Results Show, you can do via the regular RSS and Atom RSS feeds. In fact, there should be a brand new post coming in just a few hours after this post is published.
September 8, 1997
On this day: A new group was formed with five of the losing finalists from the “Sharam Q Female Vocalist Audition” held on ASAYAN: Nakazawa Yuko, Ishiguro Aya, Iida Kaori, Abe Natsumi, and Fukuda Asuka. Two days later, this new group was christened “Morning Musume.”
Morning Musume, “Ai no Tane”
Release Date: November 3, 1997
The song that began it all. A mellow pop song featuring solid vocals, “Ai no Tane” showcased the strength of the ladies with the light but gentle music. (I’d write it off as being for the time off not for the likes of hitomi and Amuro Namie being active at this time as well.)
The music video is light, discussing them doing everyday things in a primarily outdoorsy setting. The only difference is at the beginning, towards the end, and intermittently through the video where the 1st Gen are in a field.
(Regardless, it’s certainly different from the PV vids coming out of the group and H!P these days.)
Heike Michiyo, “GET”
Release Date: November 5, 1997 (two days after Ai no Tane)
Two days after the losers creep onto the world, the audition’s winner (Heike Michiyo) bursts in with her debut single, “GET.” A rocking song (the song used in the audition), it is one that showcases the Michiyo’s vocals. The video is also of a higher quality than “Ai no Take,” certainly due to this being a major release. Either behind a microphone, in a white corridor, or with a band, Michiyo truly shines here.
January 31, 2002
On this day: Future Mutou Mika turned 10.
Around this day: Sheki-dol disbanded (after just four singles) due to one of the members “needing medical attention” (read: she became pregnant).
Mini Moni, “Minimoni. Hinamatsuri!/Mini. Strawberry Pie”
Release Date: January 30, 2002
A special song for the upcoming Hinamatsuri holiday and one of many beloved songs from one of Hello! Project’s most legendary acts. “Ostensibly” marketed towards children, this quartet is the very example of “peripheral demographic” as the unit has enormous popularity with the older crowd. (I’d be lying if I said this wasn’t my favorite classic H!P subgroup. One of my greatest sorrows was entering the fandom at the beginning of the end.)
Anyway, featuring great voices, a fun sound, and an adorable MV to match (where when they’re not dancing our just having fun, they’re being tormented by Hina doll versions of themselves), “Mini Matsuri” is just a joy.
It is one of two songs to get a trance remix.
Mini. Strawberry Pie
One of many songs about food, setting a precedent for the sweets theme that will come to define Mini Moni to come. Featuring cute visuals as the girls’ cartoon selves make the titular sweet. Then the bridge featuring baking antics that have to bee seen to be believed, this makes a good compliment to Hinamatsuri.
June 26, 2006
Around this day: 22 days ago, Mano Erina, Ogura Manami, and Komine Monika became H!P Eggs.
Morning Musume, “Yashitenki de Ii Jan!”
Release Date: June 21, 2006
A dance-pop tune with synth strings and a sight rock infusion (particularly evident in the break) that made the metalheads among the fandom shed a tear, this was an uplifting and appropriately hard-hitting song. I say it’s appropriately for the same reason this might make veterans shed a tear: this was the final single for 5th Gen members Konno Asami and Ogawa Makoto. While the terms of their graduations were different (Mako just left MM while Konkon also left H!P), they spread their wings to their ambitions for noble reasons: studies. Ogawa studied English in New Zealand while Konno left to focus on getting into university (which she did, to one of Japan’s most prestigious no less). Where are they now?
Anyway, the PV had two scenes: the dance shot had them dancing on a stage with a metallic curtain and a lot of disco balls. The close-ups have a colorful checkerboard background (that even show their names when first shown). Later in the video, they assume fighting poses and punch them! The third one has them in a car, waving at an unseen crowd in a parade-like outdoor scene with airplanes flying one after the other in the air.
Abe Natsumi, “The Stress”
Release Date: June 28, 2006
A funky, jazzy jam from the original Morning Musume face. A danceable ditty that’s sure to get rid off any stress you have.
Beginning with four women reading a paper, we transition to Nacchi dancing with her backup ladies. During the verses, Natsumi and her ladies react to various stressors. After all, the song’s about how stress is ruining people’s lives.
In the middle, there’s a small rap before Nacchi takes over again and we head towards the end.
November 19, 2010
Since this fell within my blogging hiatus period, I will copy and paste my previous thoughts from the associated Precision Past Perspective post and maybe insert some new thoughts.
On this day: Arai Manami and Kosuga Fuyuka celebrated their 13th birthdays.
Around this day: Two days ago, Berryz Koubou’s second All-Hello! DVD is released.
Morning Musume, “Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game”
Release Date: November 17, 2010
The final MM single of 2010 and for Kamei Eri, Junjun, and Linlin. The song was a gothically fancy pop song with violins delightfully shrieking their melody with other symphonic elements thrown in. The PV featured a variety of shots: dance shots in a white room and a black stage, close ups in a black corridor, and alternate shots of them in a flowery pool in their album outfits (released a month later).
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).
The single and PV is also significant: this was the last single before the audition machine began again as the 9th Gen auditions were announced in conjunction with the triple graduation, which very briefly left Morning Musume with its lowest member count at five. Last time they had that many members was when the group was first formed. (Indeed, it was a bit strange watching Ai no Tane for this post and seeing such a small number of Musume. One consolation was the fact that this was where it all began.)
Release Date: November 17, 2010 (same as Lullaby Game)
Neverminding how “cheap” this appears in light of other anime-based fare at the time, this PV was a sparkly treat featuring our princesses Snow White (Wada Ayaka), Cinderella (Maeda Yuuka), and Kaguya (Fukuda Kanon). This was the second opening to Hime-chen! Otogichikku Idol Lilpri, a fairytale-themed magical girl anime — and pretty much one big reason I followed S/mileage so closely (even into their rebirth as ANGERME).
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.
To see its predecessor, see it here. (The PV’s not bad, it’s just… don’t expect much, even if the song kicks butt.) On the bright side, a future member of Morning Musume ’15 sang this during her audition.
April 16/17, 2015
On this day: Hello! Pro Egg-turned-model Aoki Erina turns 25.
Morning Musume, “Seishun Kozou ga Naiteiru/Yuugure wa Ameagari/Ima Koko Kara”
Release Date: April 15, 2015
In regards to this last one, there will already be a post talking about that particular single. It will be posted next Wednesday alongside the review for Juice=Juice’s new MVs.
I would like to take the time to thank you for all that you’ve done and doing for me. You are the reason I blog and I owe all my success to you.
Here’s to the next blogging milestone.