2012 is a very interesting year for my relationship to Momoiro Clover Z. While their popularity continued to increase, my fan fervor waned. I really loved their first single of the year, “Moretsu Uchuu Kōkyōkyoku. Dai Nana Gakushō “Mugen no Ai” a lot (all three songs on that single are top notch), Otome Sensou, their follow-up single, was the first MomoClo single to really disappoint me. In hindsight I don’t mind it very much and I think there’s a lot of good ideas in the song. However, it is a very flawed song as well, and didn’t quite live up to the concept that had been teased.
2012 was also the year that I became a Team Syachihoko fan, and so in general a lot of my attention moved to them. So if these next few posts are a bit overly simplistic I apologize – After 2012, Momoiro Clover Z was no longer my favorite idol group.
Still, while at the end of 2012 I was just discovering Team Syachihoko, I did pay attention to one Momoiro Clover thing, and that was their first performance on Kohaku Uta Gassen.
Like many Japanese music fans, I follow who’s listed for this annual event pretty often. And Momoiro Clover, like many idol groups, set Kohaku Uta Gassen as their ultimate goal. So seeing them on the list of groups announced, while not entirely surprising at this point, was still really amazing.
I feel like this Kohaku was a turning point for MomoClo – while they were already achieving a lot of fame before that point, their invitation to Kohaku Uta Gassen 2012 cemented Momoiro Clover Z’s place in Japanese pop culture. At this point they weren’t just famous for being idols, they were nationally famous. While there are always disputes and questions about why some artists get invited versus others, If you get to Kohaku it’s pretty clear that you have achieved a certain level of fame.
What really got me as a fan, though, was during the performance of Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo, the members included Akari in the chant of their names. It still gets me to tear up, honestly. It’s pretty special and lovely that a group remembered and mentioned a member who had graduated over a year and a half prior. It says a lot about how important Akari was, and it also says a lot about Stardust Promotions. While Stardust hasn’t always been perfect, it’s moments like these that make me proud to be a Stardust fan.
While Kohaku isn’t the be all end all of idol popularity and preesence, it does say a lot that Momoiro Clover Z has performed at it for three years in a row. It also set Momoiro Clover Z on the hunt for a new goal (which I will talk about next time!).