The ℃-ute PV retrospective #8

In today’s installment, ℃-ute get experimental! Included in the four promotional videos today is a ethnic mix-up of sound and rhythm, a daring harmonized dual vocal, an intense layering of vocal worked put over a multi-camera video, and a return to form. ℃-ute appear confident in themselves, and are able to pull out these performances with great skill.

The Power


By most accounts, things get crazy for ℃-ute from this point onwards. At first glance, you might think “The Power” is going to be another intense song in the same vein as “Crazy Kanzen na Otona” with its belly button baring outfits. There are elements of that here, but Tsunku goes on a strange journey with “The Power” with an Indian influenced production. To this day, I’m not sure if it worked, but after a few listens I just went with it in the same way I went with Tsunku’s madness on “The Manpower”. At the same moment I will rock out and make that lip-snarling, head bopping face AND exclaim “WTF is Tsunku even thinking?!” Continue reading

The ℃-ute PV retrospective #7

We’ve reached the plateau of ℃-ute’s commercial success. The three singles in today’s installment work together as a trilogy and each sold over 60K. That used to be an unheard of number of sales for a Hello! Project group that didn’t contain a Morning Musume member. Honestly, there is nothing negative to say about any of these six songs, and you probably have a favorite locked up somewhere in this 7th retrospective. So, let’s get on with it!

Kanashiki Amefuri


Welcome to the land of double and triple A-side releases. From here on out, Hello! Project weapon of choice became the use of multiple A-sides with “Kanashiki Amefuri” and “Adam to Eve no Dilemma” being the first ℃-ute single to pack ’em in. Also, H!P began their subtitle policy with these PVs, so enjoy reading. Starting with this release, the group really started to look the part of the mature songs they were singing. There’s nothing particularly “loli” about the group any longer. Now, there are three things here that really heighten my appreciation for great rain you see. Firstly, I grew up with a love of Gene Kelly and the great American Movie Musical, and I perceive this as more of “Singing in the Rain” (I know, it’s a reach). Second, Yajima Maimi’s reputation as a rain bringing woman falls in line perfectly with “Kanashiki Amefuri”. Finally, I don’t know if it’s the split screens, the water hose rain drops, or the arrangement of the “oooh, aaah” background vocals but this single always struck me with a 1970s vibe that I kinda dig. Ya dig? Continue reading

The ℃-ute PV retrospective #6

℃-ute is going to disband on June 12, 2017. But before they do, I’m going to run through all of the group’s promotional videos for you. During this set of singles, ℃-ute was firing on all cylinders and their sales numbers continued to increase. This is when non-H!P people started to really notice the group. And, let me say that “Crazy Kanzen na Otona” kills now, and will continue to take lives FOREVER.

Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku


Today, we start with some ballad work from the girls of ℃-ute. “Kimi wa Jitensha Watashi wa Densha de Kitaku” showcases the group’s vocal abilities greatly. The promotional video was a big gamble … there’s a boy in it! He actually touches Airi! This will shock you at different levels depending on where you fall in the “Love Ban” spectrum. The other memory of “Kimi wa Kitensha…” that doesn’t show up here was the actual release of the song. During the month leading up to the release, ℃-ute released a new version of the PV EVERY DAY. I don’t know where these versions exist now (maybe somewhere on the official YouTube Channel), but maybe I should take a watch one day. This single was the first time in the “modern” Hello! Project era that a group other than Morning Musume crossed the 40K barrier, so CELEBRATE! Your Queens have arrived! Continue reading

Notes from the Idol PV Couch– Week 18 2017 (0507-0513)


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 have Promotional videos from:

Kikkawa You – Sayonara Standard

With lyrics and composition by Seiko Oomori, Kikkawa You offers an introspective meditation. What to do next? “Sayonara Standard” is a goodbye the usual, the normal, the standard. Life goes by pretty quick when you’re in the back of the cab, and the view out the window is just that:a view. “Sayonara Standard” is like a kiss-off to the old life, the stagnant life, the life that leaves you crippled with complacency. The marimba tones and odd time signatures of the song may seem a bit out of place with Kikkawa You’s career, but given the song’s lyrical content I think the change is justifiable. When the rhythms straighten out for “Sayonara Standard”‘s chorus, Kikka belts out her firecracker vocals, and the only conclusion necessary is an open window and a face-full of the fresh air. You can buy “Sayonara Standard” at your favorite retailer on May 17, 2017.

Continue reading

The ℃-ute PV retrospective #5

℃-ute is going to disband on June 12, 2017. But before they do, I’m going to run through all of the group’s promotional videos for you. If I had to pick a set of videos to take with me on my deserted island trip, this particular set from ℃-ute might make the cut. If the group did not continue to bigger and better things, this set alone would put them at the top of the idol game. Did I mention my great affection for these PVs?

Dance de Bakoon!


Now we’re getting the spicy stuff! The group really finds its balance starting from “Dance de Bakoon!” The choreography may include the awkward “turn around and bend over” move, but I’m not sure many people were complaining by this point. Even thought the vocals mostly distribute like a later day “FOREVER LOVE”, Okai Chisato nails her lines solidly. Couple this with her enourmously popular solo dances (Chisato dances “Massara Blue Jeans” in her bedroom!), and you have the third leg of a tripod for group. Continue reading

The ℃-ute PV retrospective #4

℃-ute is going to disband on June 12, 2017. But before they do, I’m going to run through all of the group’s promotional videos for you. The promotional videos on this installment are for some of the less well-received singles from the group (well, at least for me). Actually, they’re not all that bad. Not-so-coincidentally, this certain time period was probably the lowest point of interest for my personal Hello! Project fandom. Well, enough about me …

Shochuu Omimai Moushiagamasu


Honestly, I have nothing but good things to say about this song. “Shochuu Omimai Moushiagamasu” was a brilliant light for the ℃-ute during this stage of their career. I remember this came out right around summer time, and the images of the girls enjoying themselves at the beach with that watermelon set the mood for a great vacation. I love the red and white outfits- eyecatching and cute. The end bit with the girls delivering letters to mail box was thought to be the girls sending messages to Arihara Kanna, currently taking a medical leave for bunions. Well, that was a nice thought but we all know how Kanna’s leave turned out … Continue reading

The ℃-ute PV retrospective #3

℃-ute is going to disband on June 12, 2017. But before they do, I’m going to run through all of the group’s promotional videos for you. For these next four releases, the bloom was definitely off the rose. I have fond memories of these ℃-ute releases: this is where I started paying attention to groups outside of Morning Musume. In particular, I loved “Edo no Temari Uta II” although I think I was in the minority for that song.

Namida no Iro


This is where I officially enter the story. Although I was already a fan of Morning Musume by this point, I hadn’t really delved into the rest of Hello! Project until “Namida no Iro”. At the time I felt there was something a bit misguided yet endearing about a group of teenage Japanese singing a song with clear Spanish influence. I also didn’t think anything particularly about the PV that now looks like corners were cut everywhere. But, MAN that styling department went overtime on the girls. Saki wears the ski cap, Erika dons the fedora, and Airi puts on those hot pants. It’s crazy good. Continue reading

The ℃-ute PV retrospective #2

℃-ute is going to disband on June 12, 2017. But before they do, I’m going to run through all of the group’s promotional videos for you. Today I’m going to have a look at the first four ℃-ute singles. The early days of the group showed lots of promise. They showed so much promise that on December 30, 2007 ℃-ute was chosen as “Best New Artist” by Japan Record Awards! I look back on these singles and see a clear choices that needed to be made for the group: who would be the center? should they ride the saccharine train for a while? As the group’s skill continued to grow, the answers to these questions (mostly) became obvious.

Sakura Chirari


Today’s edition starts out strong with and adorable line dance of a song. By this point it seems like C-ute are really going to live up the cute in their name. With all those fresh faces right in the camera, how do you not get charmed? The girls are also starting to look more like their eventual adult selves. Thinking about it now, maybe this was the work of a stylist wisely trying to develop identities for the new group. Shot entirely on a soundstage, the eerie depiction of a lack of gravity still plays tricks with my eyes. Then again, who needs gravity when you have C-ute? Continue reading

Notes from the Idol PV Couch– Week 17 2017 (0430-0506)


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 have Promotional videos from:

Zenbu Kimi no Sei da – Wagamama Shinsei Hominina

Zenbu Kimi no Sei da’s fourth single bursts to life with the colored pages of manga. Perhaps a bit less aggressive that some of the group’s past offerings, “Wagamama Shinsei Hominina” finds the group living in the illustrations like this were a 1980s one-hit wonder video. The guitars take a step backwards to give way to the synth melodies that add color to the auditory mix. But, the striking feature for this offering is the bursts of primary colors. When the lights go off, even the dark is pierced with blue lights. “Wagamama Shinsei Hominina” finds its way to stores on April 26, 2017.

Continue reading