Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!
As part of Hello! Project’s 20th anniversary celebration (and M3’s 10th anniversary… that tagline will be over with soon), I will take a look at various releases from the collective’s history. This week, we’re gonna party like it’s 1999 with Taiyo to Ciscomoon aka T&C Bomber aka that H!P group Inaba Atsuko was in before she was doing backup vocals for virtually everyone. (Seriously.)
Like many early H!P groups, Taiyo to Ciscomoon was formed on the show ASAYAN. In the lead up to the their debut in 1999, each of the members (gymnast ace and current concert acrobatics coach Shinoda Miho, longtime post-breakup H!P backup singer Inaba Atsuko, Chinese-born Honda Ruru, and later folk singer Kominato Miwa) were sent to different cities in the US to train: Inaba went to Atlanta, Kominato to Detroit, Shinoda to Memphis, and Ruru to Chicago.
After releasing 8 singles (and changing their name to T&C Bomber a year later), the quartet disbanded as a group in October 2000.
While the group has had some reunions (in an independent 2009 concert and in a 2013 H!P New Year’s concert), Taiyo to Ciscomoon have pretty much parted ways. Granted, there’s still some connection to them (be it though Shinoda’s current role in orchestrating H!P’s concert acrobatics or Inaba’s longtime role as a backup chorus singer), but their old group seem to be a hidden gem. Well, “hidden” may not be that accurate, given the numerous nods to their material that were given throughout the years since their breakup.
In any case, let’s dig into Taiyo to Ciscomoon #3 and get some light-year grooving going on.
Uchuu de La Ta Ta
The song is such a fun bop, featuring a cool funkiness is befitting of the period and even reminds me of (of all things) the Spice Girls. (Then again, this was during the height of Spicemania in the world. Plus, Tsunku described this particular tune as “UK soul music.”)
Starting with a monologue in Ruru’s mother language, we get into the groovy main part before our cosmic girls make their entrance. After their solo lines, they take turns singing in groups with the other members harmonizing. All of their voices all blend together into a fun combo that bounces along with the beat.
Seriously, I dare you to not bop along!
The MV is… unique.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s not bad, even with the immense green screen (which has become a dirty word in the H!P fandom these days). As “cheesy” as these effects are to us (especially to our modern palettes that expect MVs to be mini-short films), it is that quality that gives the MV its edge, its fun and funky look.
There’s enough to not be bored (numerous effects and bacgrounds, varied outfits on the parts of the singers) and what it lacks in plot (what is apparently required to make an MV good, though you can probaby find one in how Taiyo to Ciscomoon are dancing around the world and space), it makes up for in enjoyment.
(As this single was released in 1999, it is not subject to the changes in sales reporting as implemented by Oricon in Fall 2016.
All figures reported in this section are from the Hello! Project Wikia with the percentage and average mathematics done by moi.
Of course, if a piece of idol music really touches you, does it matter that much how well it sells? It does to some people, which is one reason I do this…)
Sorry to disappoint, but sales information for this single is currently unavailable.
Ah… There’s certain magic to Early H!P. It’s not exactly the unpredictable bubbliness we expect (and miss fondly) from that era, along with devoid of the awkardness associated with the more recent years. There’s a certain… formativeness, experimentalism, rawness to it all. Sure, much of H!P has been shaped by the ASAYAN years, but while hidden gems like Taiyo to Ciscomoon/T&C Bomber are long gone, they are far from forgotten.
(This song alone got a duet remake as a Matsuura Aya b-side with Inaba Atsuko, along with a “recent” performance during this year’s Hina Fes.)
Next time, we go to 2006 with the Great Aya and Miki (aka GAM) and their debut single, Thanks! (See here for the deets)
Stay very nice!