Noteworthy

Future Head of Intl Wota Gets First Taste of Wotasphere and the New Morning Musume

Do Da Funky Chicken! – Morning Musume’s ‘Pyoko Pyoko Ultra’ PV Review! – Okay! Musume Time
モーニング娘。『ピョコピョコ ウルトラ』 (MV) (by… – Idols and Hollywood
Over Reacting? Rant Time! – Okay! Musume Time
Lucky 7th “era for Momusu?, Pyoko Pyoko Ultra PV – The Blogpower!!!
Morning Musume Releases “Pyoko Pyoko Ultra” PV – Not Another K-Blog!!!

My daughter Haruna is my pride and joy. She’s five now, going to VPK, and like her Dad enjoys comics and cartoons and other geek stuff. We watch iCarly together, though likely for different reasons, and recently started watching “Honey & Clover” together on Netflix. There are some things we disagree on – I can’t stand it when she sends me Facebook requests for Castleville, for instance. But for the most part, I indulge her interests and do my best to make sure she’s as happy and as well-cared-for as can be.

Haruna’s been exposed to a good deal of the idol world, as one may expect, and she knows she was named after Takewa Haruna of SweetS. (The SweetS poster has been up on my wall since before she was born and she sometimes points at it and asks me to show her who is Haruna again.) Her “house” – which is actually a closet where she put a bunch of her stuff – includes pictures of W on the wall, including a large laminated poster of Kago Ai during that time. (I dread telling her what Kago’s been through since, but that can wait another decade.)

Anyways. Earlier today she wanted to play Stickery on the iPad but I was using it at the time to go over articles for today’s Recommended Reading. I was on Okay! Musume Time and she saw the screencaps from the new Morning Musume PV “Pyoko Pyoko Ultra” and was very interested by the girls who looked like ducks (I kept telling her they were chickens, but she insists they’re ducks because they’re yellow).

I wanted her to see the new Haruna in the group – I figured she’d get a kick out of another Haruna out there in the world of Jpop. She loved the video, commenting throughout and I kept trying to tell her who’s who – and found myself mentioning Riho a lot – as she determined that Gaki is the Daddy of the group and Sayumi is the Mommy. Her favorite part was when the girls laid out cake and cookies for Gaki as she went for a walk – for some reason, that delighted her to no end, perhaps because of the size disparity. So here’s a news flash: children will like this new video. Not exactly a surprise, since it seems pretty much custom-suited to their taste.

Anyways, after we watched the PV I asked if she liked it and she said yeah. Then she turned her attention to the screencaps in Chiima’s article and began reading the captions underneath each of them. I’m proud to say she’s a very precocious reader, well ahead of her classmates.

So my baby was reading her first-ever wota blog post, when I immediately realized there were a lot of… um… naughty words in the piece. A lot of them. Chiima is something of a pottymouth. But oddly enough, my first reaction to this wasn’t panic or anxiety, but relief. Because I was thinking, If she was reading something I had written, she’d not only encounter a lot of naughty words but also a whole lot of perverted ideas that I may end up having to explain. (“S&M dungeon? That’s just a nice room, honey.” “Cleveland Steamer? It’s a way to cook vegetables.”) The worse we get here is a basic buttfuck reference and even then Chiima uses “bum” so I could just say it’s about homeless people.

As always when she reads, Haruna passes over or guesses the words she doesn’t understand. I helped her through the acceptable words and let her mis-pronounce and quickly get past the bad words. “Fucking” became “fooking” and “bloody” was “boody” and “damned” became “dalam”; she didn’t even try “effing” whenever it came up. So I ducked a bullet, she still doesn’t know these are curse words. (Or maybe she does know and is just humoring me to give me plausible deniability.)

I guess I could’ve just stopped her from reading altogether, but that didn’t even occur to me. She’s a growing, curious girl and this captured her curiosity. A few words she doesn’t know and shouldn’t know isn’t any reason to stop that, as far as I’m concerned. (And yes, I’m a pretty lenient parent. She’s probably watched a lot more South Park than other kids her age. And of course, she’d been instructed since a baby to make friends that look like Shihono Ryo, using videos to inculcate this important directive.)

She very much enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading along, and commenting on the different things she saw. The new Haruna didn’t interest her as much as I thought it would, though she seemed to take a mild liking to a close-up of Zukki. The two captions that made her laugh: “Baby Predator, WHY DO YOU LOOK LIKE RIHO?” and “Aika, like a BOSS!”. That first one, she needed help with the word “predator” but afterwards laughed really loud. I’m not sure why. The second one she simply read out loud in an astounded voice, turning it into a question.

When she got to the last screencap, we played the video again. She fast forwarded to the cake and cookie walk and laughed out loud again at that. She assured me she liked the video, then she closed the browser and went on to play Stickery, as originally planned.

And so, Haruna has now had a taste of the wotasphere and what it has to offer. For some reason, I kept thinking of what Ben said to Luke as they arrived at Mos Eisley: “You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” (Oh, and your Dad’s been a big part of it since the beginning. So I guess that makes me Jabba the Hutt.) If she had to read anybody’s screencap review, though, I’m delighted it was Chiima – the writing is brisk and energetic and funny, and that’s good for drawing her in. I also wouldn’t’ve minded if it was AimxAim or Thennary Nak or Jess, so maybe I’ll start getting her to read screencap reviews more and see if she takes a hankering for it. (idol love I’d have to think twice about, if only because we’d likely get in the same situation as reading my stuff, i.e. explaining certain things mentioned that she should wait till college to find out about.)

if Intl Wota is still around in another ten years or so, I’d likely be handing control of it over to Haruna anyways. (Of course she’ll be a full-fledged wota by then. How could she NOT be?) So she might as well start learning the family business now, right? That way, this will ALL seem normal by the time she takes the reins. Yup. All normal. Nothing weird or twisted in the wotasphere. Yup. Normal.

* * * * *

Originally I was going to leave this article off with that, but there’s been several other posts about the new Momusu PV and they’re all worth a special read. Idols and Hollywood has some brief reactions, as does Kath from The Biogpower!!!, who considers this the start of a new, seventh era for the group. (I love how the eras are broken down, it makes a lot of sense.)

What intrigues me though, are two responses to negative comments being directed at the song and its video by people who are saying it’s too childish and represents a step back for Morning Musume. Chiima has posted a second article in that regard, and Not Another K-Blog!!! has a well thought-out, comprehensive rejoinder to those who see this new direction as a bad thing for the group.

Watching my daughter’s reaction to the video, I have to wonder: maybe she’s the new audience? Maybe they’re going this route – much younger members, much younger sound, questionable chicken outfits – precisely to shed some old baggage and attract a new kind of fan base? I’m sure I’m not stating anything new here, but if Morning Musume is going to hang in there for another ten years or more, do they really want to rely on forty-year-old wota like me sticking around as fifty-year-old wota? Or would they want the Oha Star crowd to get all excited, to see something that better appeals to them?

Both kjpop and Chiima mention that change is sometimes difficult to accept, and the sudden flurry of changes in Morning Musume after a long, long, loooooooongg period of (boring, stultifying) stability is probably especially jarring. For fans who came into H!P in recent years, it probably seems like a slap in the face instead of Standard Operating Procedure. But change can also be exciting and reinvigorating. I have to admit, Morning Musume lost me during the start of what Kath calls the fifth era and I was completely checked out for most all of the sixth era. I’m coming back now, though, and it looks like I’m bringing my daughter with me this time. If anything, the changes from the past year-plus make me think of the Golden Era (i.e., Era Two) when there was a line-up change after each and every single (except “I WISH” / “Renai Revolution 21” – stable for two whole singles!).

Personally, I think Gaki should’ve left with Takitty, and Winky and Sharky should be shown the door too. That way, it can be Sayumi as Mother Hen with all her brand new little chickies being groomed in her likeness. That’s just my own sick, twisted preference, but one thing’s for sure: this isn’t your Dad’s Morning Musume – as a Dad, I can feel that. And it may not even be YOUR Morning Musume anymore, at least not as much as it used to be. Whether or not you want to stick around is a personal decision, but I can’t wait to see where they’re going from here. And I’m sure I’m not the only one. Just ask my pride and joy.