Mobekimasu And Hello! Project All-Stars: Compare, Contrast, Grieve

Mobekimasu – “Busu ni Narinai Tetsugaku” Preview Released – Hello! SayuNii
Mobekimasu – “Busu ni Naranai Tetsugaku” Group Profile Pictures Released – Hello! SayuNii

“Mobeikmasu, I served with H!P All-Stars, I knew H!P All-Stars, H!P All-Stars was a friend of mine. Mobekimasu, you’re no H!P All-Stars.”

Okay, having gotten that out of my system, I have to say that Mobekimasu does strike me as a wise move in an idol landscape dominated by AKB48… But it doesn’t feel like H!P All-Stars for at least one important reason. H!P All-Stars was all about the celebration of the history of Hello! Project up to that point. It came out at a point when such a celebration was possible because most of Hello! Project’s membership was present. Though the total of missing former members in the All-Stars numbered at maybe a dozen or so, the number of “major” absences (i.e., those crucial to H!P’s history) could be counted on one hand. You can’t say that now.

Now as a thought experiment, imagine if the Mobekimasu PV was patterned after H!P All-Stars, with each member greeting the camera in the order they joined H!P. We’d start with Gaki – the last of fifth gen by that point – then the H!P Kids, not counting the three that have left since, then the duo of sixth gen, Sayummy and Winky… Then the three H!P Eggs that are now OG S/mileage, I think… Then seventh gen, except Koharu’s already left… Then eighth gen, except the Pandas have already gone, too, so it’s just Sharky…

Do you see what I’m getting at? Not only does the history start with the end of Morning Musume’s Golden Era, but there’s even holes upon holes in the historical representation following that… For the discerning H!P fan, the absences stand out more than those present. And the fact that there’s only one member of Hello! Project from when the collective was prominent in Japan’s public consciousness… Well, that only emphasizes how much time has passed and how much the idol landscape has indeed changed. So as a celebration of H!P’s history, it’s kind of depressing – Dream Morning Musume fills that role better, since what they are is a nostalgia act.

If anything, Mobekimasu and its song strikes me as something more along the lines of “Dekkai Uchuu Ni Ai Ga Aru” – something to end the show with all hands on board, but without any added significance to make you realize how long it’s been downhill for Hello! Project.

That said, the song sounds promising enough and the color-coordinated outfits the girls are wearing is nicely revealing. I like how the pecking order is right in your face with Morning Musume: Riho and Reina in the center. With the Berryz group shot, I’,m beginning to wonder if Momoko will be H!P’s very own Gary Coleman. (“Whatchu talkin’ bout, Socko?”)

It IS an interesting time for Hello! Project to assert its collective identity, given all the changes going on in-house. (Will Momusu tenth gen even be included at the last minute?) As was pointed out in previous posts, H!P is undergoing a time of rapid change and it looks like this group effort is a way to make H!P feel more cohesive, to show they have strength in numbers as much as, say, AKB48 or some of the other larger groups now milling around. That said, would any of this matter as far as the bottom line is concerned? Will sales reflect a stronger interest in Mobekimasu, will the sum be greater than the parts? I’m not feeling particularly optimistic on that front, but I’m willing to be proven wrong.