Archive for May, 2012

May 26 2012

Morning Musume, Finally Getting it Right

Published by under Momusu

A in the past, there have been some bad, no, disastrous decisions by MM management. I’ll list a few:

1. No auditions for over 4 years. New members and auditions are the life-blood of Morning Musume. A lot of the fun of MM is watching the new girls grow and develop into amazing idols. Stagnant groups become boring to the general public, and right now, the idol loving crowd demands youth!

2. Releasing quite a few songs that are bland, forgettable, and completely out of touch with the kind of music that is popular right now. i.e. Onna ga Medatte naze ikenai?, and Seishun Collection

3. 8th gen. All of it. I’m sorry, but only choosing Aika, project girl, and rejecting Yuu and Sumire, among others, was a HUGE mistake. And while I loved JunJun and LinLin, they were Chinese, and the Japanese are a famously xenophobic people. The fact is, if you look at Mixi, sales, or any other measure of popularity, these three girls go down as some of the very least popular members in Morning Musume’s history

But now, now, they’re FINALLY getting it right. Doing what they should have been doing all along for the sake of their popularity. The return of the yearly auditions! Actually picking the RIGHT girls from the auditions instead of rejecting a girl because she’s “too talented” (hi Riho, Haruka, and Ayumi). There’s still room for the “project” girls, but they’ve gone back to balancing them with the girls who don’t need too much work. And even the “project” girls all bring something strong to the table (Haruna-looks, Zukki-personality, etc.)

Then there’s the music. Ok, Pyoko Pyoko was a bit of a hiccup, designed to say “Look! We have young people again!”, but Renai Hunter was a huge step in the right direction. Then we have this:

Oh. My. God. It’s so AWESOME!!! This may well be the “coolest” song that MM has ever done. Just look at how well they’re styled. Costumes are sexy but still cute, and the hair styles add a funky edge. Everyone looks so good! Ayumi is standing out in a major way. Haruka, good lord is she only barely 12, because she looks HAWT. I love how she basically said “yeah, I’m the youngest member in MM history, but screw the pigtails. I refuse to be cute and immature. I’m going to be badass”. Masaki is back to the hairstyle she had for the final audition, and it works so well on her! Mizuki is even more gorgeous than usual, and she’s really learning to work the natural sexy thing she has going on. And Riho! Anyone who ever doubted that she was ready to be one of the leads for the group should take a look at this (or the footage of the last concert). Everything from the facial expressions to the dancing to the singing is bursting with energy. She’s ready. And to top it all off, it seems like every girl gets at least one solo line, something sure to please fans of the less featured girls.

Does MM have a chance at recapturing the popularity they once had? I don’t want to be overly optimistic. They’ve got a lot of metaphorical “baggage”, but if they could ever have a chance to become big again, this is how they could do it.

As a side note, yeah the song is autotuned, and yeah it sounds like Kpop. But Kpop is huge in Japan right now, and MM’s never done a song in this style before. I’m sure the other A side will not be autotuned, and I’m convinced that this song will resonate really well with the Japanese audience. It’s cool. It’s catchy. It’s fierce. It’s the new and improved Morning Musume.


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May 21 2012

Recent Stuff

Published by under Momusu

Hello again blog!

So it’s been a while. One reason is that Gaki graduating has kind of bummed me out, but mostly I’ve just been busy with other things. I like having this blog around if I want to write something, but I don’t really want to feel “obligated” to update it regularly.

Anyway, some pretty important thing have happened with MM recently, so let’s look at the group now and their future prospects.

1. Gaki-san graduates. My favorite member graduating is bittersweet for me. On the one hand, she’s been in the group forever and it feels like it’s time. On the other, bwaaaaaaaaaaa Gaki-saaaaaaan don’t leave!!! =( It seems that she had a nice send-off though. I really hope she just doesn’t disappear off the face of the earth now.

2. Aika graduates. It’s no secret that she was my least favorite current group member, so I’m sort of glad this happened… but I don’t really like the way it happened. My personal feelings aside, having such a rushed and last minute graduation shoe-horned in before Gaki’s doesn’t feel like a proper send-off. From the footage I’ve seen, the concert and the fans were very much all about Risa. Aika leaving felt like an afterthought.

3. Who do I support now?? I’ve thought about this, and I just don’t know who’s shirt color/ glowsticks I will sport next time I make it to a MM concert in Japan. I like a lot of the current girls, but I don’t overwhelmingly like one over the rest like I did with Gaki-san. Do I go for a member that tops my list, or maybe pick one of the less popular members that I like to show that she has support out there? I mean, I like Riho, Reina, and Sayumi, but they easily carry the majority of fans now (I saw a sea of red out there at pictures from other concerts), so supporting one of them almost feels redundant. Maybe I should go for Haruka…or Kanon…or Eripon? I just don’t know. It occurs to me that there has always been at least one girl in MM that I didn’t like much (Koharu, Makoto, Aika, Eri sometimes) but now there really isn’t a single girl I don’t like.

4. The Future. One of the main things that brought me back to this blog is the recent appearances of MM (mostly 9th/10th gen) and Fairies on Nakai (from SMAP)’s talk show. Finally, after years of MM coming off as polite and subdued (AKA boring) during the period of Ai-chan leadership, the new members are bringing back the genki, funny, youthful craziness that MM used to be known for! Don’t get me wrong, I love the 9nin MM dearly, and they were great in concert, but as a group they kind of sucked at TV appearances. This new MM generation is easily stealing the attention from Fairies, and seems to be making an impression on Nakai as well. Kanon and Eripon in particular are stand-outs. They’re not afraid to act over-the-top and goofy! Mizuki, while less “funny” is also not afraid to speak up and seems to be taking a natural leadership role with the new members.

Here’s the most recent segment:

And of course, there’s the announcement of 11th gen auditions. I for one am excited! I like MM as a 10+ member group. They’re at their best when there is a good mix of different looks, personalities, ages, and talents. I’ve been quite pleased with the results of the last two auditions, so I have high hopes for this one as well (no Mogis or Satsukis please!!). Again, back in the old days of MM there used to be auditions every year or so (1st through 5th generation all occurred in consecutive years). While this may seem sudden, it’s actually in keeping with the era when MM was shining their brightest.

In summary, while current MM is not the group I personally grew to know and love during my time in Japan anymore, they are starting to come much closer to the group they used to be when they were at the height of popularity, and I think that is a very good move.


4 responses so far