Spirits in the Immaterial World

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Well, damn if Hello! Project has a great way of releasing their videos right in the beginning of my work day.  I end up spending all of the day anticipating the moment when I get to watch the new product.  This time was particularly stressful, since I had solid plans to gorge myself with friends right after work. As a result, I had to wait even longer to finally see the finished PV for Morning Musume’s new single “Help Me!!”  Was it worth the wait?

Considering most of the PV was previewed through Satoyama Life, very little of this PV suprised anyone.  In short, I enjoy this PV much more that the last Morning Musume release, “Wakuteka Take a Chance“.

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To start with, I quite like the costuming.  Leopard print with pink tutus?  BRING IT ON.  Questionable head wear?  OF COURSE.  Random leather details?  WHY NOT.  I’m not sure why anyone would object to the outfits … they’re not the plastic-looking dresses for “Wakuteka” or “Renai Hunter” that I disliked.  I thought the “One Two Three” look was just girly enough, and the leopard print on this single gives the girls a more mature look.  The tutu’s explosion of pink does a nice job of interrupting the monochromatic coloring of the leopard tops and the girls’ legs while adding some interesting color.

During the monologue beginning and the monologues’s return in the bridge, the images of the girls flicker in and out of the screen.  Couple this with the hyper-saturated blues of the title screen and I get the picture that the girls are not meant to be part of this world, but are appearing and disappearing like ghosts or digital apparitions.

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See, I don’t think Morning Musume are trying to trick anyone into thinking that they are inhabiting the world shown in the PV.  They look blatantly artificial because they are not meant to be a part of the deserted nightlife scenes that make up the majority of the shots.

As the rhythms get more frantic, the lights begin pulsing like they are building up energy.

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When the chorus finally begins, we see a flash of this:

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Notice how the moon is the fullest in the chorus- a clear sign of power.  Putting the verse and the chorus together I interpret the girls, scattered and alone throughout the verses do not have the energy and power that they have when they are dancing together.  When they are together they become Morning Musume and the previously dark and desolate city comes alive with color, light, and the power of dance.

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Finally, the chorus ends with a flash of light while the girls spread their arms like the wings of a phoenix.

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To me, this PV sees Morning Musume very clearly recognizing and playing with two concepts.  As I mentioned before, Morning Musume are like digital spirits.  They are transmitted through technology and fade in and out of existence with the flick of a switch or the click of the mouse.  They act like muses, giving their listeners light, power, and strength.  They illuminate the world and bring lonely existences to life.  But, Morning Musume also warn us about their existence.  Like their apparitions in the “Help Me!!” PV, they appear in our lives, but are not part of our world.  We shouldn’t pretend that we know them, because who among us can truly know a ghost?

Secondly, “Help Me!!” has strong connections to birth.    One of the early parts of the dance has Oda Sakura rising out of the center of a flower- a clear reference to her birth as a member of the group.  The dance flows and undulates symmetrically like a bird flapping its wings.  It becomes clear that the bird Morning Musume is portraying is a phoenix when the entire shot is filled with a fiery light emanating from the center of the bird formation.  And, if the phoenix isn’t enough (re)birth, Reina does a damn good job striking a Jesus pose.

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So, what do you think that the “Rebirth of Morning Musume” concept?  Are they bludgeoning you with it?  Are you still hung up on the green screens, or do you think the green screens service the PV?

“Help Me!!” is still a promotional video, meant to showcase the group and its assets.  Next are  few of my favorite shots from the video:

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Yes, Riho?  Why yes I still think you are the best choice for center.  I hope you stay there for a while.

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Any close-up of Erina is good enough to make my list.

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Mizuki has been really turning up the heat lately.  Please, keep drinking milk.

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Haruka has a great way of talking through her eyes.  I just wish she would cover up her midriff a bit.

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Masaki looks full of attitude in her time at center.  Where does toughness come from?

And for a look at each girl:

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Sayumi has reached epic levels on the hotness scale.  I need to lie down for a moment.

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I haven’t gotten used to Reina’s imminent departure yet.  It’ll hit me eventually.  When it does, expect to see a boatload of Reina love articles.

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Mizuki, you WILL be the next sexy member.  Make your peace with it and shoot a few photobooks, please.

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Hey there!

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Is there any need for me to mention the tower behind her?  Geez, UFP, you’re dirty.

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It saddens me that this is the only solo shot of Kanon in her personal set.  She needs to do something about this fast.

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Look at Haruna’s waist.  How is that possible?

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I still need Ayumi to work on her voice if she’s going to be anything better than the second coming of Riho.

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Showing lots of forehead, Masaki.  Can we get more of you and Haruka on variety shows together?

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Haruka’s voice really stands out to me in this song.  Her contributions to the chorus are vital.  Now put that belly button away.

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I agree- you have a nice voice, Sakura.  Keep working on it and force these other girls to step up their game.


12 responses

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  2. Nice review of it! And I added your blog to my blogroll!

    For me, I liked the PV but not loved it. I wasn’t expecting much and I thought all the members had quite a lot of shots individually except of course a few. I especially like the parts for Haruna, Haruka, Erina and Kanon as well.


    • It’s really a shame about Kanon’s solo time. I scoured the video for solo shots of her, but could only find the one.
      I like the PV, but I’m not sure I love the PV, either. I definitely don’t find it as offensive as some people.


  3. Wow! Such a good read! (*0*)/ !!
    I have noticed some the things you mentioned but not as detailed. My mind was really blown away by your concepts!
    This is a really good review! 🙂


  4. “I haven’t gotten used to Reina’s imminent departure yet. It’ll hit me eventually. When it does, expect to see a boatload of Reina love articles.”

    Really? I expect to see Reina hate articles.


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