Notes from the Idol PV Couch– Week 21 2017 (0528-0603)


Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. At times, this is a bit of a grueling task, and all of my thoughts can get a little scattered when multiple PVs are released on the same day. But, I always try to present the promotional videos in the best light possible, and I try to remember that each of these pieces of entertainment for your a me is actually the manifestation of a dream for some young girl or girls out there in Japan. Here then is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

This week, we come back with a vengeance with Promotional videos from:

Kobushi Factory – Sha la la! we can do this

From the first frames of the new Kobushi Factory, you can tell how “Sha la la! Yareru Hazu sa” will be themed. September 2 is Fujii Rio’s last date with the group, and this promotional video somewhat fictionalizes how those last few days will look. There are no teary goodbyes; instead there’s work, work, work! As the Factory girls plan their live from rehearsals to costumes to choreography, it’s clear that the drive of the group is the reward for Rio’s years in the Projects. I suspect that Rio wants to be remembered for her part of that brilliant rise of Kobushi Factory more than any individual accolades. This just seems to be the Kobushi way. Say goodbye to Rio when “Shalala! Yareru Hazu sa / Ee ja nai ka Ninja nai ka” is released on June 14, 2017.

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Notes from the Idol PV Couch– Week 20 2017 (0521-0527)


Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. At times, this is a bit of a grueling task, and all of my thoughts can get a little scattered when multiple PVs are released on the same day. But, I always try to present the promotional videos in the best light possible, and I try to remember that each of these pieces of entertainment for your a me is actually the manifestation of a dream for some young girl or girls out there in Japan. Here then is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

This week, we come back with a vengeance with Promotional videos from:

Band Ja Naimon! – METAMORISER

In this “new” promotional video alert, we have the a-side to Band Janaimon’s latest single, “METAMORISER”. With the new single, you get the band arrangement, you get peppy melodies, you get fun dances, and you get Band Janaimon! in some great color-keyed traditional inspired costumes. The PV builds up from outdoor shots of the group doing their thing in a field, to heart-shaped sparklers, and to the inevitable explosion. “METAMORISER” went on sale on May 17, and you can get your own copy by following the links below.

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Notes from the Idol PV Couch– Week 19 2017 (0514-0520)


Over at New School Kaidan, I write a few words about some of the recently released promotional videos. At times, this is a bit of a grueling task, and all of my thoughts can get a little scattered when multiple PVs are released on the same day. But, I always try to present the promotional videos in the best light possible, and I try to remember that each of these pieces of entertainment for your a me is actually the manifestation of a dream for some young girl or girls out there in Japan. Here then is a collection of those write-ups, with a few words sometimes added after a week+ of viewing.

Incredibly, we only have on promotional video this week, at it’s from Dorothy Little Happy!

Dorothy Little Happy – FOR YOU

The stark white space of some promotional videos gets to be a bit of eye fatigue. But for Dorothy Little Happy the white serves to contrast the pastel color dresses. With little more than the dresses and flower petals to break up the visual plane, the viewer is forced to focus full attention Takahashi Mari. And, we might as well say it: with Shirito Kana out since February for an undisclosed medical condition, Dorothy Little Happy for the time being is the Takahashi Mari Solo Show. That makes this release a bit odd. To her credit, Mari shines through this live band arranged pop song. With the bass and guitars in the foreground, Takahashi’s sweet voice cuts through and takes center stage in the harmony laden vocals. Even if just for the oddity of duo gone solo, you should give “For You” a listen. “For You / Demo Sayonara (2017 version) goes on sale on May 31, 2017.

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The ℃-ute PV retrospective #12 FINAL EDITION

In a matter of hours, ℃-ute is going to disband. Thankfully, the group gifted us with one last memorable single. I fully expect at least one of the songs here in this final edition of the ℃-ute PV retrospective to become part of the Hello! Project book of legendary songs. And, what a long trip it’s been for the group! They started as the “also-ran” girls to Berryz Koubou, shone with early promise and rewards, fell into hard times and line-up changes, and finally ascended to the top of Hello! Project and the idol world. In their final months, the group was given the option to continue as a non-idol group outside of Hello! Project. The girls chose to keep ℃-ute as a group belonging only to Hello! Project. This is how strong the H!P love burns inside these girls.

To Tomorrow


If ℃-ute are going to go, then I want it to be a sunrise more than a sunset. I think this is what we get with “To Tomorrow”. Seeing the girls on a hilltop in their white dresses, surrounded by the elements and bathed in the morning sun seems like the best way to go. Famously, this ℃-ute PV is intercut with dance shots of the group with leaders and subleaders of every current group as well as the latest and last crop of Kenshuusei trainees to tour with the group. I loved this idea: ℃-ute didn’t exist in a vacuum; they shaped and influecned Hello! Project as much as they were shaped by the forces within the Projects. “To Tomorrow” refers to not only the morning after for the girls of ℃-ute , but also the morning of their legacy within Hello! Project.
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The ℃-ute PV retrospective #11

Can you believe we’re almost done here? In this penultimate installment, ℃-ute deliver to us an absolutely classic- artistic, layered, and well-executed. Like “Summer Wind” from yesterday, I’ll put this song in a vault containing all my favorites and bury it for some intrepid intergalactic explorer to find after man’s eventual nuclear winter. Too dark? OK, well, that song is …

Mugen Climax


Before starting here, you should know that I am a huge fanboy of Oomori Seiko, the composer and songwriter for “Mugen Climax”. In fact, there is nothing about this song and promotional video that I find disagreeable. The costumes, those military inspired backs and rag dresses appear appropriately surreal. Then the choreography! The girls get plenty of opportunity for individual skills and solo appeal, while the group choreography fills itself with ripple upon ripple. The old European elegance of the set feels dreamlike to me living in sunny California- familiar, yet foreign. Put this one on the short list of idol classics. It’s absolutely brilliant! Continue reading

The ℃-ute PV retrospective #10

Before the ℃-ute says its proper goodbyes, they released this look at where things might have gone if they chose to stay in Up FRONT as a non-idol act. We know from the girls that this option was on the table for them, so it’s likely that the tracks on today’s installment were a Starting with a notable album track from the FANTASTIC “℃maj9” album, we get the A-sides from the group’s 29th single today. ℃-ute get a bit experimental with this release, and the composers show their roots off with some send ups to the American music scenes of yesteryear. Also included is an absolutely sparkling production of Tsunku song for the mature set of ears.

Iron Heart


This album track from “℃maj9” (C Major Ninth) follows along the same lines as “Gamusha LIFE”, which should figure since SHOCK EYE is the man behind the composition and songwriting for both songs. You knew the budget for this promotional video was bound to be sparse given the nature of the release. That said, the song is full of good feelings with lyrics that feel as though ℃-ute are singing about ℃-ute. Even though the audio is not live audio (perhaps a pet peeve for some people), we get a look at a ℃-ute while they are at the top of their game. Energetic and full of smiles and with a minimum of choreography, “Iron Heart” feels like getting closer to the group than many of their showier songs.
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The ℃-ute PV retrospective #9

I have a rough time trying to rank my favorite ℃-ute singles, but if I ever did task myself thusly the 27th ℃-ute is a sure bet for the top of the list. The majority of the promotional videos today come from that impressive release. Notable today is the first inklings and hints that the group would not last forever. Hints as to the ℃-ute’s eventual demise litter these two releases. Well, enough with the talk; let’s get on with it!

The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~


℃-ute as sexy office ladies? Sign me up. You know, the girls wear those button collars, pants, and power skirts pretty well. The dance shot is absolutely inspiring with some odd body contortions that the girls make work. The real story with “The Middle Management” is the odd grooves that Tsunku gives the group. I have to admit that when I first heard the song, I was expecting something more accessible, perhaps more like the easy, face slams of “Crazy Kanzen na Otona”. Instead, we get a beat that sounds subversive, like the soul has been sucked from sounds yet it keeps pumping (much like office work, right?). This is one of the things that I love about Hello! Project: they don’t necessarily give you exactly what you want 100% of the time. They give you the things that you didn’t even know you wanted until the moment you pay attention to it: like dirty machine-like sex on the boss’s desk. Continue reading