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.
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.
Did you realize that Yajima Maimi is a well-documented rain bringer? Rather than lamenting, ℃-ute celebrate the rain with this wonderful song that uses the metaphor of the rain and storms to great advantage. The main shot is a performance in the round surrounded members of the ℃-ute fan club. The rain starts, and for the second time we get wet ℃-ute who by the way look gorgeous. Honestly, I can’t separate my feelings of seeing this song performed live this past April: an ebullition of emotion at seeing and hearing such an honest expression of joy, tribulation, and triumph brought a tear to my eye as I jumped and waved my King Blade like a madman. Only the best songs will do that to you. I have to give major credit to SHOCK EYE who created lyrics that perfectly encapsulate the feelings and emotions of the girls and a composition filled with drama and excitement that takes the listener on a real voyage. The naked strings that close the arrangement really sounds like the sun piercing the clouds after the rain purifies the earth. Beautiful.
The Curtain Rises
The last time ℃-ute burns for you is “The Curtain Rises”. The group keeps the intensity level at 11 all the way through to end. In their detailed blacks, the girls dance through the exposed scaffolding of a set that looks like it could be the backside of the stage at their last performance. I hate to leave things with this note, but I honestly wanted something with more bombast than what we got here. Not to say “The Curtain Rises” is a terrible concept. The choreography is as sharp as ever and the girls smolder in their close ups. Perhaps the tracking shots with the girls riding the dolly for that Hitchcock zoom effect will be the most memorable thing about this PV. Perhaps like I mentioned in “The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~”, Tsunku is one step ahead of me and I’ll only realize the true genius of “The Curtain Rises” long after ℃-ute passes into legend. It’s a shrewd sentiment, but after this long and memorable ride it feels only appropriate to say that doors are not closing, sunset is not upon us, and the drapes are not closing; the Grand Curtain is rising.
Thank you to all of you who read through this 12 part retrospective. I had a great time revisiting all of these PVs, and hopefully you got something out of my rambles. If it’s not obvious, then I have to say that I will miss ℃-ute a lot. I know the pitfalls of outstaying one’s welcome, and I know all things must pass. So, I’m extremely pleased that ℃-ute got to call their own shots and leave the idol world of their own accord, with a brilliant blast, and a celebration for the calm after the storm.
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