Day 29: In your opinion, who is/was the best leader of an Idol group?
This is honestly fairly easy for me. Granted, I could be biased as hell. Ishikawa Rika was v-u-den’s leader, and I really think she did an excellent job; Erika and Yui were brand new when added to v-u-den, and yet the group really gelled like they’d been there for a while. No one felt weird or out of place, at least to me. I also love Yajima Maimi, and she impresses me as a leader, too. She really does take care of her group. One thing I saw was an interview with both Berryz and C-ute around the time of their concert together. The whole group was talking about their H!P Kids days, but Kanna wasn’t a part of that (since she was added later). Maimi made an effort to ask Kanna what she thought.
This also brings up the question of what makes a good leader. Leadership is really not THAT significant, because the idol who’s the leader doesn’t make any of the business decisions, doesn’t write the songs, doesn’t make any of the big decisions. Often times, I don’t really think that leaders of idol groups do all that much at all.
However, a good leader of an idol group is one that I think brings all the girls in the group together behind that one person, loves and works hard for the group that she’s in, and works hard for the others. And the person I think does that best is…
AKB48’s Takahashi Minami.
I just can’t help but admire the ways she really loves AKB and puts so much effort into making it a great idol group. I always have had the impression that even if Takamina wasn’t in the most popular idol group around, she’d still love the group dearly. She’s a member that the others can get behind, and I really appreciate that!
People who read my blog (I love you!!) I have some news.
This is my 100th post on Happy Disco. Yaay!!
This is the first image you get if you search Happy Disco on Google Images.
My infatuation with idol music isn’t going away anytime soon! Usually when I start up projects/blogs like this I get bored quickly and stoop doing it, but I really do enjoy what I do here on Happy Disco.
First up: If you guys read this and have read my blog before, what types of posts do you like? Would you prefer more straight up reviews, more lists, more rambles about the nature of idol pop? I’m just curious to see what people would want to read from me.
Secondly: I’m still continuing my 30 Day Idol Challenge and Tokyo Idol Festival series’, but I’m thinking that since the 30 Day Idol Challenge will end soon that I will start a new regular segment. What do you guys think I should do? Reader feedback yay.
And since I want to make this a fun 100th post, in honor of my long posts here on Happy Disco I’m going to do a list of my top 10 idol PVs. (in no particular order).
Note: This list is largely personal, and I’m also betting that in a day or two I’ll find a PV that will make me wish I included it in this list. Also it’s only idols, nothing else.
SKE48- 1! 2! 3! 4! Yoroshiku!
I feel like, if anything, this PV is proof that you don’t necessarily need to have a story to make an interesting PV. This is in my opinion a perfect idol PV. It’s shot well, edited interestingly, and even when they’re focusing on things like the dance shot, it’s not shot at some unmoving flat angle, but moves around and really makes it interesting. This is the first of SKE48’s “Let’s hire the entirety of Aichi prefecture to be in our PVs”, and while I really like Banzai Venus, I think that the extras had a better role here. They really do a lot to add to the excitement and really keep the energy up high.
Finally, the PV really plays to the strengths of the girls which is always something that a good idol PV should do. This one plays to the fact that SKE48 has really strong dancers by having the dance-off scene as well as focusing a lot on the dance shot, since they have an interesting dance.
This PV is just a joy to watch, and I absolutely love it.
v-u-den: Kurenai no Kisetsu
In my opinion, this is the forgotten v-u-den PV; the one that no one really knows or thinks about. However, it’s one of my favorite PVs of all time.
Again, there’s no story except Rika, Erika and Yui all have to look sad. However, the scenery and set pieces in the PV are absolutely gorgeous. I’m not very knowledgeable about cameras, lightings and settings for those things, but I’m curious about what they did with the color with some of this. I think they might have changed something? But the colors do seem warmer some places and cooler in the dance shot, and whatever it is it looks cool.
The part that just wows me and that I love about this PV is all the playing around with mirrors. In addition to being great set pieces (the cracked mirrors near Erika are particularly stunning), the way that shots play around with them is amazing. I’m particularly fond of whenever they look into the mirror so that it looks directly at the camera. Also, from what I know of filming, I know that mirrors have their own set of issues, since they tend to reflect things which often can include the people filming the thing. When the PV director inevitably went “alright, this PV will center around MIRRORS” they were obviously taking a bit of a chance, but it totally paid off.
Beginner (original ver)- AKB48
I’m so happy that AKB48 released this PV on DVD so I didn’t have to use the low quality PV obviously filmed by a phone that I first saw this PV from.
This PV is very well known among current idol fans as the one that got banned, that AKB wasn’t allowed to air on TV so they had scramble and come up with their PV that got on the DVDs and could be aired places, a mix of the dance shot and the making of.
However, the original PV is now in high quality thanks to new DVDs and it totally deserves the praise it’s given. It has a really interesting Matrix-like story of the girls being plugged into games and banding together to stand up and stop fighting each other but fight the system, the machine they’re in. The moment when Acchan finishes screaming, tears away from her old arm and evolves to be able to fight the system just sends shivers up my spine, as well as the moment when Yuko hugs Takamina so Jurina can pull the plug.
This is a PV where I desperately want more, so I can know a back story. And that’s why it’s up there among my top ten PVs.
Top Secret- Hangry & Angry
This is definitely a bit of a personal choice for me, but a year and 9 months or so later (wow, it does NOT feel like that long ago) I STILL love this PV and watch it on a regular basis. This is another one with amazing sets, good design, and it’s really edited interestingly.
However, in my opinion the biggest strength is the performance of Yossy and Rika. Like I said in my Reconquista review, one of the biggest strengths with Hangry & Angry is that Yossy and Rika have been active idols for over 10 years now, even though they were probably the most famous back at the start of their careers. They both have a LOT of experience and as such always give really fantastic performances live and in PVs, and this really reflects that. The way that the two of them act in the PV, interact with each other and the camera, it really speaks wonders of their experience.
So while the PV is made very well, Rika and Yossy are really the stars of the PV, as they should be.
Enkyori Poster- AKB48’s Team PB
However, despite the experience of Rika and Yossy lending well to their performances, the girls of Team PB do really well. So well that, after I saw this vid, for a while I decided that I was a “Team PB oshi” and that I would support all the Team PB girls forever. That’s not so true right now (though I do love all the girls in Team PB), as I’d probably, if anything, would classify myself as a Watarirouka Hashiritai wota.
HOWEVER, the point still stands that all the girls are outstanding in the PV. It solidified my bias towards Oota Aika and it definitely moved Maeda Ami and Miyazaki Miho up further in my ranks. Myao in particular. She basically nailed this PV.
The one thing that eluded me for a long time, though, is WHY I thought Enkyori Poster was so brilliant. It’s fun to watch because the girls all look like they’re having a blast and they all do very well with their energy. But why is this PV considered one of my top 10, with such simple backgrounds and props?
Well, after thinking this it really hit me how brilliant this PV is. The song itself is pretty simple; it’s about the feelings of a fan who loves and supports their idol. The lyrics have in the past made me tear up with things like
“though it seems that i can’t quite meet you you are there by my side more than anyone else
at times I make mistakes and about to give up I will just gaze and dream of you meeting me face to face” (taken from Stage 48’s Studio 48.)
Those words are really particularly meaningful to me and a lot of idol fans; who hasn’t gone through a rough patch at school or work, and come home and just watch things with idols to self-medicate? I know that when I’m feeling down and when I feel like I can’t do anything, what I really do is watch something with Rika, Lovetan, Wasamin or one of my other favorites and just imagine them.
This PV takes those lyrics and takes that thought, and moves it to one guy’s room. Now, he’s fantasizing about the girl(s) (he’s totally Yukirin oshi) in his poster, but then we move to the posters. As we would expect from this being a PV, the girls sing and dance like usual. However, we sometimes see through to the other side of the room from in the poster, to see that it is really a poster, to remind us of what we’re watching. Furthermore, whenever the girls sing and dance around the room, the posters are blank, so we know that this is about the girls of the posters.
There’s more to it, though; one of the things that I liked a lot about the PV originally were the different angles that we see the girls at in the dance shot. However, the camera rarely moves during the dance shot; it moves once or twice panning the girls. But the thing I realized is that the angles that we see the girls in the dance shot, the unmoving shots, are really the angles that might be in a poster, further cementing this.
The other parts of the PV are close up shots and the girls dancing in the guy’s room. However, during the close up shots, nearly everything that the girls do is straight up posing in ways that would be seen on a poster. They only move freely in the guy’s room when the fantasy is at its peak. When the fantasy is confined to the posters, every move is a cute pose, reminding us that these girls are just on the poster and not in reality.
Finally, we see a shot of the man staring at Yukirin, cementing the fact that the PV was his fantasies of his
idols, not reality.
Mirai Bowl- Momoiro Clover
First off, if you haven’t seen the extended version, do so now. You’ll be glad you did.
This is gold. It’s set up like a cheesy old-fashioned sitcom, with the introduction at the beginning and a laugh track and cheesy music. The story is an obvious Grease parallel… only that there’s a relationship between a girl named Sandy (Kanako) and Danny (Akari). Two newsies are there to get them together (Shiori and Momoka), I guess? Also, Danny is a super amazing bowler, so that’s important for the music part of the PV. However, Leader (Ayaka) wants Sandy too, with Reni as her assistant. In the drama part of the PV, I have to say that I love Ayaka and Reni’s part the best. Ayaka’s deep gangster voice and Reni figuring stuff out by going “give me chappa chappa etc.” is just amazing and hilarious. They kidnap Kanako by going “It’s a UFO” and pointing.
I love all MomoClo PVs dearly, but I had to pick this one because it has the most hilarious plot of all of them. The girls know how to ham it up in these roles and it’s just funny because it doesn’t begin to treat itself seriously. These girls are also really great dancers and performers and that in itself makes it really fun. The comics-style effects are also really fun, and the break where they actually have the bowling game over Kanako’s heart is just super fun to watch.
Not putting Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo, D’ no Junjou and Pinky Jones on this list was super hard, but just by PVs Mirai Bowl never stops being really fun. It’s one of those PVs that seems like it must have had a fairly small budget, but made the most of whatever budget it had and then some. No matter how high or low MomoClo’s budget is, they totally make up for it and then some.
Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou – AKB48
Yes, I picked the suicide PV.
Keibetsu never fails to make me emotional and cry. You just feel the hopelessness of the girls throughout the PV, and the images of Yuko going to commit suicide are just heartbreaking.
This PV, even though it was in AKB’s early years, has a lot of depth and maturity to it. The way they act, when you see Sae leave the school because of bullying, leaving Yuko alone, you feel like there’s more to it than just what you see in the PV.
The color scheme is also dark, fitting in with the rest of the PV, and the looks of the girls at the end, almost going “You know what you did” just never fail to be haunting. I know people who miss AKB48 from when they were less popular because of stuff like this, and I honestly don’t blame them. I love the current happy idol music that AKB and co do, but songs and PVs like Keibetsu Shiteita Aijou are certainly missed in the current lineup.
Meguru Koi no Kisetsu- C-ute
This is definitely a big change of pace from Keibetsu. XD
I love this PV so much, you guys have no idea. On the one hand I really really like C-ute from a visual standpoint (if that makes any sense) because I love how they dance and perform with such energy. This is super apparent here in the dance shots, close up and other shots, where C-ute is in high form, doing very well.
The reason that Meguru Koi no Kisetsu is on my list and not any of the other C-ute PVs, however, is that this is a perfect example of how a budget isn’t anything. This PV doesn’t look like it cost much of anything; a few backdrops, a few props, nothing radical that would cost a lot of money. However, the seamless way they move between all the backdrops and use them creatively is really something. I’ve seen a lot of people complain about the budget in H!P videos, when this PV would seriously counter that. PVs are a lot more interesting when they take whatever budget they have and use it creatively, like they did here.
This PV is fun, really enjoyable, and overall really well done.
Watarirouka Hashiritai- Gyu
Guys. I love Watarirouka Hashiritai. So much.
This is probably my most subjective pick on the list, but I don’t even care because I love it. The whole PV is like a drama; I can imagine that this is some romcom drama about five girls with their own problems and relationships and it’ll be one of those things where they all bond over their relationship troubles and stuff. This is something I want.
But anyways, they all have their relationship things:
Harugon (Nakagawa Haruka) doesn’t have any relationship issue. She and her “boyfriend” (which is one of the MSN messenger “people”; was this sponsored by MSN?) are all happy and in love. Good for her, I guess. Lovetan (Oota Aika) has an unattentive boyfriend who flirts with other girls and not her, even though she’s the girlfriend. This is where you have to suspend disbelief in the PV, because who would choose other girls when there’s Lovetan. Though her slap is kind of my favorite moment ever in any PV. When this came out I watched that slap about 10 times in a row. Nacchan (Hirajima Natsumi) is basically playing me, because she has a thing for her teacher. In the PV she hugs her teacher in what could potentially become harassment? Teaching the English word for hug, yeah right. And the whole classroom claps, which makes me think that the classroom is writing Nacchan/teacher fanfiction. Ayarin (Kikuchi Ayaka) gets confessed to by a guy but then turns him down. Which makes me believe that this is the final test after her scandal; if she decided to get with the guy then she’s gone for good. But yay, Ayarin stays. Mayuyu (Watanabe Mayu)… runs? Mayu, running isn’t acting, oh wait, for you it is, OK. I’ve heard theories that she’s romantically involved with another girl because they take Purikura together with some other girl (which is usually just with girls) and I like this theory a lot.
This is a fun PV with a fun story and it’s about hugging. I love hugs. So, it’s a favorite.
Zutto Suki de Ii Desu Ka- Matsuura Aya
The rest of the list is in no particular order, but this is my #1 favorite PV ever. I think it’s ridiculously well-crafted, creative and beautiful. The way that they use a continuous shot through all the beautiful sets is really well done. If you watch the PV making of it isn’t editing trickery or whatever; they really did do most of the filming in one fell swoop, with Aya running around the backs of sets to get where she needs to be. It reminds me a bit of one of the scenes of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind that involved the main actors running around the backs of sets to get places. If I think “Oh, maybe Michel Gondry directed this PV?” then you KNOW it’s a great PV.
It’s not only doing the continuous effect, but it also has really gorgeous sets; I particularly like the one with the clocks. It has a twinge of a surreal feel, too, since you see the way it gets to all the different sets that are clearly fabricated.
Still it’s gorgeous and I love it.
A very subjective list (that took forever to write), but there you have it! Happy 100 posts, Happy Disco!!!
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Ishikawa Rika, and I enjoy groups she’s in. However, that’s not to say that I like every group she’s ever in; I RARELY listen to EcoMoni and I almost always regret that. I also prefer some groups over her groups.
However, when reading blogs, I almost always see “v-u-den only existed for fanservice” and I have to wonder if they’ve seen all of v-u-den’s songs/PVs; I admit that there’s fanservice to be had in the later singles of v-u-den, but calling it a blanket ‘fanservice group’ really does injustice to a lot of v-u-den’s stuff, especially the earlier stuff that is pretty nearly fanservice free. Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin and Jajauma Paradise have fanservice, yes, but what about some of their less remembered singles, Koi no Nukegara, Hitorijime and Kurenai no Kisestsu?
SO this is a little primer about v-u-den and the fanservice levels. I will rate each single (the main song, not the B-sides, though I don’t necessarily think there’s fanservice in the lyrics of any B-side) by the costume, the dance, the PV itself and the song. I’ll give it an unofficial “how I would feel if young!H!P Kids sang this song” rating and then I’ll give my final remarks with the overall averaged score.
Each rating goes from 1 to 10; 1 is Jankenpyon, most Mini Moni stuff, Piriri to Yukou, etc. If you find this in anyway appealing it’s YOU, not the PV. 10 is Some Boys! Touch, some of the things in Heavy Rotation, etc. REALLY heavy fanservice.
So, let’s go in order and see how each is rated~
Koi no Nukegara
Costumes: The only thing I can see here that would POSSIBLY offend is that Miyoshi Erika has some midriff showing; otherwise, they’re long and flowy dresses, which is really what I think of as the opposite of fanservice. There’s nothing form fitting or revealing about them, unless you really like shoulders or ankles, and then you’re in luck. I’ll give this a 2 just because of Erika, but really this isn’t fanservice. 2
Dance: This isn’t very fanservicey; there are a few times where they move their shoulders or bend over slightly (though this doesn’t show any cleavage) that could be perceived in that way, but I really don’t see too much in it. It’s a very swishy (um, new adjective?) dance that plays a lot with their flowing dresses. I’m going to give it a bit of a generous score because there’s some bending over slightly (though not really sexy?) and they sometimes move a bit with their dresses, but really this isn’t. bad. 3
PV: There are some kinds of smoldering looks, but the PV is MAINLY dance shot+ close ups + them walking + flowers. There are a few low-ish angles and they make some faces but those are more.. concerned/serious than sexy. 2
Song: It’s about love; they ask a “Mr. Doctor Love” to look them over to see if they’re OK. It’s not completely innocent, but it’s a standard song about love. 2
H!P Kids Friendly: It reminds me a lot (PV/dance/costume) of Tsukiatteru no ni Kataomoi by Berryz. I’d have no qualms about watching H!P Kids (even young’uns) do Koi no Nukegara.
Overall score: 2.25 If you think this is overly fanservicey, I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Costumes: These are cut more flatteringly towards the female body; you see some cleavage from Yui, but that’s not really difficult considering she’s Okappai. These are cut lower on Yui and a tiny bit lower on Erika, but Rika’s version’s pretty conservative. The puffy skirt goes down to about their knees. I’ll give it a bit more for Yui, but that’s the only thing I see. 4
Dance: It’s mostly punching and moving around. They do a bit of light bending but nothing horrific. 3
PV: This is the most fanservicey thing of the bunch. In the PV we have v-u-den as a bit of a love triangle, with both Yui and Erika wanting Rika. In the PV we see a couple of them on a bed, Yui grabbing Rika’s leg, and general “I want you” looks. The reclining and moving to kiss on a bed is what does it. It’s not quite Melodies and it’s a lot more subtle, but it still gets more fanservice points. 5
Song: “Japan is cool!” is essentially what this song is. It was used for Japanese tourism or something, so it’s basically “come visit and we welcome you to Japan!” 1
H!P Kids approved?: I’d be mostly OK with the costumes on a young H!P Kid; I don’t really think there’d be any effect of cleavage because they don’t have Yui’s breasts. I’d be a bit uncomfortable with the whole relationship aspect of the PV, so I don’t think I’d want to see them doing this, but other than that, the dance and the costumes and the song is approved. The PV would be, if they took out the stuff on the bed and the leg grabbing.
Overall score: 3.25. The PV has some fanservice, but that’s about it. The song, costume and the dance are approved, and I don’t think the PV is all that bad, other than hinting at lesbian relationships.
Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari
Costumes: Classy girl clothes. I don’t see anything wrong with any of them at all. 1
Dance: It’s the clock dance! I know a lot of people don’t like this dance because it looks strange, but I think it looks fun. Nothing super suggestive here; Rika moves her body a little bit in the seconds after the “yurari yurari” bit when she’s waving her hand back and forth, but it’s nothing suggestive sexually. 2
PV: Nothing I can really see is fanservicy. The PV is made up of close up shots, dance shots and then shots from the v-u-den mini-drama thing that came out around this time. Which I’ve seen but I really do NOT remember what the plot was about because I knew a lot less Japanese than I do now. But I swear, that has them wearing even less revealing clothes than in the dance shot (Yui has a REALLY baggy sweater). 1
Song: On a slightly musical note, this is one of my favorite v-u-den single songs; it’s an excellent song. The lyrics are another love song, singing about a guy, shaking feelings and sadness. Which is interesting, considering how much everyone smiles throughout the PV. There’s one line about how the guy’s favorite girl is one with “delicate arms and a large chest.” And Tsunku HAD to write that one for Yui to sing, I swear; she has this smile as she sings “ooki na mune” like “yeah, I got that!” Anyways, that’s the only suggestive line. 2
H!P Kid Approved?: Yes. I have no qualms about anyone doing this group. I have general qualms about young girls singing about relationships and heartbreak, but there’s no fanservice in this single.
Overall Score: 1.5; They wear baggy sweaters in half the PV and the other half is in regular sweaters. My goodness, they are practically trying NOT to be sexy.
Now we’re hitting what I like to refer to as the forgotten v-u-den singles; Hitorijime, Kurenai no Kisetsu and, to an extent, Issai Gassai Anata ni A.GE.RU are essentially forgotten by the world, even though they’re great songs/pvs/singles.
Costumes: These are probably the sexiest costumes we’ve gotten yet; there’s some definite leg action and some slightly bare backs. Other than that, they’re not form fitting at all, don’t show cleavage and for sure cover everything up. 4
Dance: (on a personal note, I think this is one of the fiercest H!P dances ever. I love the dance shot almost more than the regular PV). This is a sexier dance than we’ve gotten yet; there’s some moving down the other members’ bodies, and some moving hands on their own bodies and smooth movements. It’s a sexy dance, but it’s a lot more subtly sexy; it fits the song perfectly. And is perfectly fierce. Yeah. This is one of my favorite dances ever. 5
PV: To be honest, this is kind of a bit of a boring PV. Close ups and dance shots, and shots of the girls looking all sultry and sad. But nothing fanservicey! There aren’t any weird cleavage shots or anything. Tame. 2
Song: As one would expect from the title, it’s a sad song about wanting someone all to themselves and being sad. There’s a small part about the guy they’re into kissing another girl. Which is hard to imagine, considering it’s the v-u-den girls. I can’t imagine why they’d want to cheat on them. But I digress, it’s not bad; there’s relationship things, which makes it not a 1. But nothing like, sexy. 3
H!P Kid approved?: Everything but the dance. I don’t know if I want to see young!H!P Kids being all sultry and dancing around like v-u-den; it’s not BAD, but it’s definitely more mature than kids stuff.
Overall Rating: 3.5. Another tame v-u-den single. There’s a bit of suggestive dancing but it’s done tastefully and artfully, which is good.
Kurenai no Kisetsu
Um, yeah, this is THE forgotten v-u-den single, which is a shame, because I think it’s amazing. Everything about it. Is love. It’s probably my second favorite H!P PV ever (second to the cool version of Ayaya’s Zutto Suki de Ii Desu Ka).
Costumes: Long, flowy, purple dresses. They’re really pretty, but I wouldn’t consider them fanservice. Um. They’re pretty? That’s not fanservice, though. 1
Dance: There’s a bit of the “Arms around my body” thing but I wouldn’t consider it really sexy. It’s not really a super ultra innocent dance in that it’s not childish; it’s very much a dance by adults, but not adult as in sexual content. I’ll give it a bit of a bump due to to moving arms around their own body, but I don’t really think this constitutes fanservice. 2
PV: Pure perfection? Beautiful-ness? This is, IMO, one of THE most beautiful H!P PVs. It’s REALLY gorgeous, with the shots of the mirrors and just the colors in it. There’s some sultry looks and a bit of reclining, but nothing fanservicey. 2
Song: Kurenai no Kisetsu is a bit more suggestive than the previous v-u-den singles; they sing about wanting to meet someone, “I won’t touch you” (implying the alternative), “your voice drives me crazy”; it’s a bit more sensuous than the others and it’s really gorgeous, but there’s a level of fanservice in it. 5
H!P Kid Approved?: While the song would totally make me uncomfortable if H!P Kids sang it, Anata Nashi de wa Ikite Yukenai (Berryz’s first single) is pretty much like this single in terms of lyrics. No joke. So. Yeah.
Overall Score:2.5; Mature, yes. A very adult song, yes. Fanservice? Absolutely not.
Issai Gassai Anata ni A.GE.RU
One of the other forgotten v-u-den singles. Which is sad, because I’m kind of in love with the song.
Costumes: In half the PV they wear sweaters (albeit tighter than in Ajisai) and short skirts (that’s the story portion) and in the other half they wear what’s essentially lingerie. However, I wouldn’t put this in the same category as the lingerie in, say, Heavy Rotation because it’s pretty harmless stuff; Rika’s is definitely shorter and cut differently than Erika or Yui’s, but I don’t think the whole concept is too bad. It sometimes astounds me that people accuse v-u-den of being overly fanservicey when you see the lengths they did in these earlier PVs to hide her breasts. Still, it’s pretty sexy stuff. 6
Dance: It’s very old fashioned, with the way they use the microphones. They were for sure going for an old-fashioned vibe with everything, something I’ll touch a bit more in the PV section. However, I’m not one of the people that automatically sees “MIC=PHALLUS” like I know a lot of people do. There’s a bit in the bridge where they are a bit sexier, but I wouldn’t say there’s much to object about in the dance of the PV. It’s a bit flirty, but nothing too terrible. 4
PV: When I first saw this PV I was all about calling it sexist; it seemed to me the whole “as a woman I screwed up so I need to fix it” wasn’t exactly very complimentary. Then, I saw a comment on YouTube about how this was an homage to the old TV show Bewitched and it ALL MADE SENSE. In the 60s series, the main character was a witch who lived a normal life but had to fix things with magic. When I saw this comment I remembered that Bewitched actually was very popular in Japan, and the homage would make sense. In addition, the song and the dance feel to be from a similar era. With that point of view I’m not bothered with the PV anymore. Fanservice wise there’s no questionable shots, and while you might not like the PV’s message, I think if it’s viewed as an homage then I have little to object to. 2
Song: I originally was all on the sexist parade with this song (despite loving it from the bottom of my heart), but the lyrics are really cute; it’s a sweet song about the feeling of being in love and wanting to give everything you have to the person you love, which I think is a lovely sentiment. 2
H!P Kid Approved: Well, the dance and the old-fashioned feel’s already done by Berryz in Waracchau yo Boyfriend; I’d be iffy about letting them in the costumes, but the rest is approved.
Overall Score: 3.5- I know a lot of people would disagree, considering the costume choice (which is why this song is sometimes targeted for its fanservice) but the rest of the PV/song is almost overtly innocent, complying with the 60s vibe.
Aisu Kuriimu to MY Purin
Oh goodness. It’s that time. One of the most common “V-U-DEN IS JUST FANSERVICE!!” videos. Probably THE most common one, actually.
Costumes: There are two costumes in here; the bunny girl outfits and the sparkly short dresses that are not at all trying to be reminiscent of Marilyn Munroe, noo. Well, obviously the bunny girl outfits are suggestive because of how our culture perceives it. Even though they’re not SUPER revealing, they’re definitely fanservice. Plus, the dresses are really short. So yes. I admit. this is craaazy fanservice. 8
Dance: ‘AISU KURIIMU TO MY PURIIIN” has one of the more famous dances in H!P history; I personally find the dance to be kind of goofy, but it’s still admittedly v-u-den pointing at their breasts and ass and shaking around. I think it’s fun, but that doesn’t stop the fanservice. 8
PV: As a PV it’s not all that bad; there aren’t super blatant sexy shots. Granted, it’s not all that original; dance shot plus close ups plus group shots. Add some homages to Marilyn Munroe (I love Rika’s face when she does it XD So silly) and it’s not all that terrible, I’d argue. 6
Song: Yes, there’s definitely innuendo; the song’s about wanting to get closer to someone, so I imagine that v-u-den thinks they’ll do this by being blatantly sexually charged. It’s not that bad, really; it has some references to kissing and wanting a crazy night. Oh wait. Berryz already did that. With their first single. But anyways, I don’t think it’s all that. 7
Overall?:7.25– It’s sexy, yes. However, the whole thing seems like a parody; like it’s parodying the idea of fanservice. Everything goes over the top, they spoof Marilyn Munroe, the lyrics are kind of silly; it’s still very fanservice-y and sexy, but I don’t think it was just for fanservice; I think it was a bit of a spoof, as well.
Koisuru Angel Heart
This is a fairly well known single of v-u-den; in my opinion, singles 7-9 (Aisu Kuriimu, Koisuru Angel Heart, Jajauma Paradise) are THE most well known v-u-den singles, at least from my experience.
Costumes: There are two costumes in the PV; the “white angels” and the “dark angels.” Both are pretty sexy; the short white dress shows off both cleavage and legs, with Rika’s again being cut to be more form fitting than either Erika’s or Yui’s (though I’d be lying if I said I minded, *cough*. The “dark angel” outfits are pretty sexy, not necessarily by what’s shown but by the attitude. It’s definitely both sides of the spectrum; on the one hand cute and sexy and on the other erotic and sexy. Yeah, uh, that’s terrible *cough*. 6
Dance: There’s some bending and you definitely get some cleavage itself, but it’s definitely not as.. glaring as in Aisu Kuriimu. It’s very cute and energetic. The use of it with the particular costumes is sexy, but if it were removed from the costumes it wouldn’t be very fanservicey. 4
PV: The PV itself, once removed from the dance and the costumes isn’t very fanservicey; there’s some alluring glances during the “dark angel” portions and they definitely looked sexy, but it’s nothing too objectionable, I’d say. 3
Song: It’s a cute song about being in love and wanting a wonderful summer. They want to be hugged. Oh the fanservice to be had in a hug. 3
H!P Kid Approved?: The dark angel bit is a little mature-ish, but nothing very objectionable. Honestly, it seems a bit less mature than a lot of the stuff v-u-den does, and while this song and PV is very dear to me it doesn’t really fit that much with the rest of the v-u-den singles.
Overall Score:4; a cute, sweet song and PV. I don’t have all that much else to say about it.
Ohhhh yes. Jajauma Paradise. Other than Aisu Kuriimu, this is the main argument for v-u-den having lots of fanservice. Um. There’s not going to be that much argument from me.
Costumes: Again, there are two sets of costumes in place here; the dance shot costumes with the small red skirts and black tops and the “pink version” costumes, which are basically pink tank tops and white shorts. The pink version costumes aren’t terribly offensive; there’s quite a lot of cleavage with Yui especially (which is actually unusual). These are pretty sexy; a bit less sexy than my 10 markers (sexy!Goto Maki and Heavy Rotation), but nevertheless fairly fanservice-ful. 9
Dance: It’s pretty sexy, too; there’s some hip thrusting and false rodeo dancing. Granted, this isn’t too unheard of in H!P (see: C-ute’s first PV, Massara Blue Jeans), but it IS fanservice. I have a difficult time taking the dancing seriously after what I call “Rika Monkey” at 3:45, but this is pretty fanservice-ful. 7
PV: hoooo boy. I really like how this PV was shot; it’s honestly such a CHEAP PV, yet the camera work and the editing manage to make it interesting. However. Sooo many boob shots, bending over cleavage, Erika sticking out her ass because she doesn’t have the greatest cleavage, etc. It occasionally feels somewhat cheap and a bit embarrassing to watch; I love it because it’s v-u-den, but it is really rather extreme. 9
Song: Not necessarily the most coherent lyrics, but they name a bunch of couples and talk about being together? Am I weird in that this is NOT decipherable to me? There aren’t any lyrics that stick out as being particularly fanservice, but the song itself has gasps and noises. That have been done in Berryz since they were little. But I digress. 5
H!P Kid Approved?: Most certainly not; none of it. Granted, most H!P Kids did something to the equivalent to either the dance (Massara Blue Jeans) or the gasping in the song (Koi no Jubaku, Special Generation) early in their careers, so it’s probably Tsunku approved for young girls.
Overall: 7.5; the song brought down its score quite a bit. But it IS the most fanservice v-u-den ever got.
Nan ni mo Iwazu ni I LOVE YOU
Sad face!! It’s the last v-u-den single before they disbanded. 🙁 The thing I find interesting is that while v-u-den climbed in fanservice as a general rule from their chaste early singles, this is way back at their roots, which I kind of appreciate.
Costumes: Back to the flowy dresses again! You see… shoulders? There are also shots of v-u-den screwing around at the beach where they’re wearing normal clothes, but they show no cleavage and not much leg. It’s kind of incredible how little fanservice there is here. 2
Dance: The dance is not too dance-y, because of the ballad; it doesn’t even show up very much in the regular PV that I’m reviewing. Um. I don’t have much to say about it. I see nothing offensive here. 1
PV: It’s comprised of shots of v-u-den at the beach, the dance shot, them all sitting together and close up shots of all of them. There’s literally nothing offensive I can even remotely find. It’s a very sweet PV. 1
Song: As most people know this is a cover of the song off of Morning Musume’s 4th album and it’s very clean “without saying a word I love you” is what the title literally says. I think there’s a slight reference to the guy potentially cheating but the girls don’t believe it. So that gets us a 3…? I guess. 3
H!P Kids Approved?: I don’t see why not.
Overall Score: 1.75- As in. There is SUCH LITTLE FANSERVICE
Overall score of every v-u-den single: 3.7 That’s not so much fanservice. Now, before anyone complains about me being not objective, I’m trying to be. I acknowledge that Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin and Jajauma Paradise are pretty much laced with fanservice. However, two songs/PVs do not make the entire group JUST about fanservice. To me, v-u-den isn’t a fanservice group, it’s an adult group. And no, I don’t mean adult as in sexy, I mean adult as in mature. Hello!Project, except at the beginning has almost always been focused on youth and young-ness If you get old you get booted from Morning Musume and put into the Elder Club; that’s the way it’s been. At the time v-u-den was around the H!P Kids were younger, and while they’ve never had the success of Morning Musume they are really quite popular and they epitomize just how into youth and youngness that Hello!Project has been. v-u-den took three women that are honestly older than the average idol when she debuts (I believe that Yui was both the youngest AND 16 when Koi no Nukegara came out, but grew older when it got more fanservice-y); these are women who are quite honestly delving into adulthood, and their material reflected that; women. Not girls, women. And sexuality is for sure a part of the experience of a woman.
v-u-den’s done a lot of beautiful things, sexy things, things I originally saw as sexist and just shows a portrait of the WOMAN; not a teenage girl. And for that juxtaposed next to the H!P Kids groups (that are honestly not as innocent as many people like to believe; the older H!P Kids songs and PVs kind of creep me out, sometimes) sometimes v-u-den seems to be the ‘sexy group’ when really they’re the ‘older group’. They were older than Morning Musume, Berryz Koubou and C-ute and, when they were in Wonderful Hearts, they were the most mature group, and for that I admire them. Actually, if I were Tsunku/UFA I would have personally spent a lot of time marketing v-u-den towards a female 20-something audience solely for the relatability issue, which is part of the reason that AKB48 is so popular now with women.
One thing I’d like to add is that even though I didn’t mention v-u-den’s B-sides and album songs (because I was JUST delving into the fanservice aspect), they’re really something special. I recommend Naishin Kyaakyaa da wa!, Fantasy, Aimai Me Mind, Kyou mo Mattemasu, Let’s Live! and Rika’s solo Omoide wa Kanata.