Archive for June, 2012

Jun 25 2012

Stacys Shoujo Saisatsu Kageki

Published by under Momusu

A recording of MM’s latest musical/stage play “Stacys Shoujo Saisatsu Kageki” is up on youtube. (Who knows for how long, but here it is embedded below). Not the best quality video, but watchable.

I don’t usually watch the h!p musicals. For some reason, I’ve never really gotten into that aspect of the fandom, but I thought I’d give this one a try. Overall, I thought the girls did a very nice job, and I enjoyed the plot, though some of the songs were kind of boring. Not their fault though. Reina and Riho prove once again why they’re MM’s main singers now, because they sound very nice in this extremely raw and unsupported audio which would easily show any vocal flaw.

As for the plot, I was surprised by how dark and gruesome it was. I mean, sure, it’s a musical about zombies, but it’s Morning Musume for goodness sake! There were a few light/funny interludes, but overall, the tone was pretty tragic. Here’s my summary of the plot for those of you who can’t speak Japanese.

We open with a young man named Shibukawa (Shibu-san) on a park bench  being approached by Eiko (Reina). After bugging him for a while with silly conversation, she asks Shibukawa to perform her “second killing”. It is revealed that girls ages 14-16 are being killed by a mysterious disease. First, they begin to become very giggly and overly-happy (the “near death happiness” stage), then they die, then they come back as zombies (called “Stacys”) and try to kill and eat everyone. Eiko is currently in the near death happiness stage, and she needs someone to kill her when she becomes a Stacy. She reveals that her best friend, Sachiko (Kanon) became a stacy and killed her parents. Eiko found her holding her parents’ severed heads (told you this musical was dark), so Eiko had to hack her to pieces with the kitchen knives. Now she has no friends and no family left, hence her asking a stranger to perform her second killing.

After a humorous advertisement for stacy-killing chainsaws, we transition to a “stacy killing squad”. Shibu-san is now a member of the squad, having already killed Eiko. (the story continues to flash back to the time at the beginning of the musical, we haven’t seen him kill her yet). He is haunted by visions of Eiko.  One (somewhat crazy) member of the squad seems to really enjoy killing the stacys, singing to them and treating it as a kind of game. He kills a bunch of stacys, but then is startled to see one (Riho) who looks like his younger sister Momo (who he had already killed after she became a stacy). Riho-stacy begins crying, which is shocking because stacys aren’t supposed to have feelings. The rest of the squad arrives to carry off the bodies, and laughs at the claim that Riho-stacy has feelings.

Then we flash back to the story of the guy and his sister. A week before her 14th birthday she was acting strangely giggly, but apparently at the time they didn’t know about near death happiness yet. Momo tells her brother that all she wants for her birthday is for him to celebrate it with her, and he agrees to do so. Unfortunately, we know that she became a stacy on her birthday and he had to kill her.

Back to the present, the stacy killing squad find out that at an all girl’s school full of stacys where they were studying the stacy’s behavior, a crazy guy has opened the doors and all the stacy’s are loose. The squad engage in a battle with the stacys, and during the battle, everyone hears Riho-stacy talk, something previously thought to be impossible. She thanks them for doing their job and putting them down.  During the battle, the guy stops fighting and tearfully apologizes to “Momo”… and she kills him by biting him on the neck. It’s unclear who wins the battle, but rumors that the stacys can talk (and therefore think and feel) begin to spread.

Flashback to Shibu-san and Eiko. She’s happy to go on her “first date” with Shibu-san. Eiko tells Shibu-san that she loves him, but it’s okay if he doesn’t love her. Eiko knows she will become a Stacy soon, and again begs Shibu-san to kill her when that happens. He promises to do so, and she asks him to always remember her. Then Eiko dies.

Next we meet Drew (Haruka) who has special powers that allow her to kill stacys without touching them. She is about to turn 14 and seems to be in the near death happiness stage. Drew meets a young man named Yusuke who has his girlfriend, Sayako (Ayumi), on a leash. She has become a stacy, but he is trying to save her, insisting that even as a stacy, she is still Sayako and he still loves her. Drew wants to kill Sayako, but they are interrupted by a stacy killing squad. The squad is now killing not only stacys, but also girls in the near death happiness stage (like Drew).  Sayako speaks, telling the squad to stop and that stacys have hearts, shocking everyone. Drew dies protecting Sayako, and Sayako and Yusuke get away.

The scene then shifts to a hospice where a doctor is keeping near death happiness girls, promising to kill them when they become stacys. The girls abuse him, blaming their near death happiness state. Sayako and Yusuke show up at the hospice. Next… I’m not sure if this is really happening or if it’s some kind of dream scene, but Drew shows up (followed by Riho-stacy and Eiko) and they offer encouragement to everyone, telling them that they will all meet again someday, somewhere. It seems that Drew used to live at the hospice. The stacy killing squad (with Shibu-san) arrives to kill the near death happiness girls and kill the doctor when he tries to protect them. The girls, Sayako, and Yusuke flee.  The girls die (I think?), but Yusuke and Sayako get away. They make plans to get married and start a family together, with half-human half-stacy children. (I think maybe Yusuke’s love for her allows Sayako to control her urge to kill him or something, not sure about that).

Shibu-san, again haunted by visions of Eiko, kind of goes crazy. She tells him that she could be killed twice, but he can’t kill her for a third time. He asks her, “Why did we meet!? Why did you ask me to do your second killing!? Why did you tell me you loved me?! Why me??” She tells him that she has put chains on his heart, and that day (the day she died), they were bound together forever. Unable to cope anymore, Shibu-san kills himself.

Flashback to the battle scene when Shibu-san killed Eiko-stacy in the park. Right before delivering the killing blow, he tells her he loves her.

So, what did you think?

~Celestia~

4 responses so far

Jun 07 2012

On the AKB Election

Published by under Momusu

WARNING: THIS POST IS ABOUT AKB.

While there are still many things I dislike about AKB (the constant lipsyncing, the rumored poor treatment of the less popular members, the fact that there are just too darn many of them and their producer is too busy to write new stages, etc.), I do thoroughly approve of their annual election.

First, I was excited to see the amount of effort AKB put in to make the election accessible to their foreign fans. Setting up an English language google+ site and informative video, selecting foreign fan corespondents to attend the election, and even hiring translators to dub it into English in real time. It seems that AKB management is really sending the message that they acknowledge their foreign fans and appreciate their contribution. Now, H!P has made some small moves in that direction, but this is the furthest I’ve seen a major Jpop group go to appeal to the English-speaking fan community.

The other thing I like about the election is that it’s a chance for the fans to say, “You know that girl who you keep shoving in our faces? (Katou Reina, Shimada Haruka, Jo Eriko, Kodama Haruka) well, we’re not going to elect her. Instead, we’re going to vote for the girl who you always hide in the back corner or refuse to promote to an actual team (Nakata Chisato, Tano Yuka, Mutou Tomu, Matsumura Kaori) because we like her better.” It feels like once a year, there is justice. At least for the fans.

I’m especially excited for the girls who have been in all four elections but never gotten to stand on stage who broke the top 40 for the first time this year. So big congrats to Nakata Chisato, Nakaya Sayaka, Mukaida Manatsu, Iwasa Misaki, and Furukawa Airi. I’m also very happy for Umeda Ayaka, not only making senbatsu, but making senbatsu at an election where the cut off is top 16. How wonderful for her!

That said, there is one issue that I think the election makes pretty apparent, and that is the problem with there being just way too many girls in AKB. The thing is, management wants to promote certain newer girls and make them popular, but there just isn’t any room at the top right now. Very very rarely someone can sneak in there (Yokoyama Yui, Yamamoto Sayaka), but it’s super tough. The management has tried some strategies to combat this including having a bazillion girls in senbatsu for the last AKB single and having three separate dance formations for the undergirls with two different center members for each, but no matter what they do, there is still not enough spotlight to go around. I say this became apparent in the election because of the fact that 0 members from NMB’s Team M ranked, and only one member each ranked from the entirety of HKT and from SKE’s Team E (which has been around for over a year), and both girls were low on the list. Even last year, they at least got 2 NMB members into the top 40. If this year’s cut off had been the same, there would be zero members of Team E and zero members of HKT in the ranking.

Recently, AKB seems to have this theme of bringing in the “new generation”, but it’s just not working yet. This could change if Atsuko’s graduation represents the beginning of a large wave of graduations by the girl’s in their 20’s, but there really is very little incentive for the members at the top to leave. What “better opportunity” than AKB could they find right now? I just feel bad for the wave after wave of fresh kenkyuusei’s, new teams, and new groups that keep being brought in, because with each new generation, a girl’s odds of ever rising to the point where a casual fan even knows her name get slimmer and slimmer.

~Celestia~

3 responses so far

Jun 04 2012

1,2,3 Dance Shot

Published by under Momusu

The dance shot for 1,2,3 is out already!! Check it out if you haven’t already.

-The first thing I noted is how freaking sexy Mizuki looks in this. The pigtails and the costume and her dancing… drools. She’s the unexpected standout of this video.

-Also, Eripon is mostly off to the side (towards the front though), but she has some great moments in this too.

-You can start to see the new MM hierarchy taking shape. 1st tier is, of course, Riho and Reina. 2nd is Ayumi and Sayumi (she’s not in the front, but she gets more lines than anyone but the Riho/Reina combi). 3rd is Mizuki. 4th is Eripon. Then Haruna, Haruka, Masaki, and Kanon at the bottom. Masaki might be a tiny bit ahead of the other three though. EDIT (Actually, she definitely has a better position than those other three. She’s doubled on Reina’s lines in the chorus. Sayu singing with Riho, BTW) On one hand, it makes sense to mostly keep their weakest dancers (Kanon and Haruna) in the back for this. On the other hand, what is Haruka doing back there? She can dance just fine. I’m guessing it’s mostly because she’s so young that she has plenty of time to shine later? Either that or Tsunku doesn’t like her much for some reason.

-Set isn’t very exciting… hoping against hope they do something cool for the rest of the PV

-I really like the part at the bridge with the pink duo doing the 1,2,3 spoken part, Reina talking, and then Riho comes in with the woooh’s and the beat picks up again!

-One odd thing I noticed, Masaki and Kanon both have green boots. Everyone else has their own color, and Masaki has teal for her bows, stockings, and gloves, but I guess they couldn’t find teal boots?

~Celestia~

3 responses so far