Episode Two: The Audition prt.1
Ah, auditions. When we used to have Hello!Morning or Asayan, or even random specials in relation to Morning Musume, we had these wonderful behind-the-scenes looks at our girls before they were idols, when they were barely able to carry tunes or dance even the simplest dance. Ah, those were the days. This particular audition was quite detailed. Also, it was quite fortunately subbed ( thank you so very much HelloFansubs!!).
So, I bring you, the Gokkie’s audition: Love Audition 21, according to the special we have. Pics galore, so loading may take awhile. I will try to make it worth your time. This audtion occured right after Nakazawa graduated and they were completing their single ‘The Peace’. In this first part, I’ll cover the intro and their first night at training camp.
I think I should have some disclaimers first. The caps will be small, because that is the best copy I have of this audition. I will only focus on our four girls and basically ignore the other girls in the audition, although I’ll say right now that they all do their best and you end up wanting to hug them all. And I apologize in advance for a lack of Konno. She wasn’t so heavily featured as the other girls, but she’ll get her share of love. No need to fret about that.
And, on we go.
The special is pretty elaborate. First we have the Musumes being nervous and commenting that they…basically are nervous. And of course they are, because Tsunku, when they do eventually get to the announcement, takes his damn sweet time.
We get treated to two awesome performances: Love Machine and Renai Revolution 21.
Love these costumes…a LOT.
Damn, I always forget how awesome this song is…
We also get to see the announcement Tsunku gives Momusu regarding this audition. He waits until after they are done the last performance of their musical ‘Morning Town’ and sends them a taped message. All he says is: “Good work on the musical. Morning Musume will be increasing.”
Everyone in Unison: Ehhhhhhhhhhh????
Apparently, most of them had the same feelings about increasing. Everyone who is asked about it, is amazed at the number of applicants, wonders what kind of girls it will be and wants to help them but not lose to them. Kago, quite adorably, wonders if any boys will join and everyone yells at her, “it’s morning MUSUME, ya doof”.
When asked what she’ll do if the girls are cuter than she is, Kago replies:
Damn, I forget how young they were…
Also: Tsuji is very cute too.
She wants lots to join…but she won’t lose. If they are talkative, she’ll talk even more…She still has her awesome kid-fangs in this.
I’m getting side-tracked…
Let’s first take a look at the odds our Gokkies were up against.
So, they were four from 25,000 hopeful girls from all over Japan. Consider that for a moment. And how completely insane it is that Tsunku went over every single application by himself (we’ll assume).
Tsunku makes the oddest facial expressions. I think he’s just plain weird looking. There’s something a little absurd about him. I mean that in the most affectionate way…
Our first glimpses of our girls:
Energetic is definitely what Makoto is.
Just look at her expression when she’s singing.
She’s rocking back and forth with such happy vigour that I could barely get this cap.
Then we have Ai-chan. I’ll call her that instead of Takahashi, because she really is just Ai-chan here.
*Ah…the camera…people are taking notice of me…*
I love how she seems to be laughing at her own nervousness. She’s so professional about it all, even at this point.
Her singing is a little twittery. She doesn’t have the control that she does now, but you can definitely hear the choral influences. She looks like she’s concentrating really hard, which, let’s face it, she probably is.
Mame…oh, her hair…That is definitely confidence hair.
Mame is the only one, apart from Makoto, who seems to have the confidence at this point. I love how sure she is. She’s shining so brightly here. If she hadn’t said it outright, I still think one could sense how much she wanted to get in. This girl really loves Morning Musume.
Here she’s singing ‘Chu! Natsu Party’ with gusto. Quite loudly also. She so sweet though. Her smile and her brightness really capture you…at least, if you’re me. But Tsunku also mentions it, that she “shines”.
Ah Konkon…Right away, you can tell she’s this shy girl, but I love what she says here, about trying her best at everything. The fact that she is this shy and she still decided that this is what she wanted is pretty impressive. And I love that hat. There is a gentleness underneath her determination.
She looks so blank when she’s singing and at this point, the tune is barely there. Even so, Tsunku mentions that he finds her inspiring. “She seems like she’d really be giving me hints on the songs I’ll be writing” he says as he watches her audition tape.
Think of the change in her. She went from this blank, terrified looking singer, to someone who charmed us all. I realize I’m generalizing, as not everyone adores Konkon, but I think it would be hard to dispute that she really transformed a lot.
But I’m getting slightly ahead of myself.
Let’s take these nine children to a secluded mountain now for an unspecified bunch of activities.
How terrifying. I mean, they must have expected some sort of training, but they all came from around the country to Tokyo, which must have been scary enough when they were all so young. I wonder if this is where the bonds began to form. Not during the ride of course. Everyone is in her own world on this bus ride, which is understandable.
We really don’t get a lot of times when the girls are together. It’s mostly individuals that get featured. We do get a lot of interesting moments, that I will go into more in part 2. I split it up so as to not overload you with caps. I tend to over-cap.
That being said, indulge me a little more.
This was his aim in making them go to the camp. Also: check out that awesome face…
Now, I like this song, but you hear it so damn much in this program that you end up wishing to never hear it ever again. Tsunku has them sing this as their audition piece and on the very first night, they go to a singing lesson.
We get three closeups of our girls.
She’s so happy singing this. I wish I had a gif so you could see the proud, energetic way she moves her head when she hits those notes. She really just seems to be excited to be there and enjoying things.
She even holds her music like she’s in a choir – except for the fact that it’s hiding her face. So, she’s still being her shy self, even though I’m sure she’s hitting all the notes just fine.
Mame always seems like she’s deep in thought. I suspect she’s experiencing a bit of a “wow, I’m actually here” at this point.
We don’t get a closeup on Konno at all. She seems to blend herself into the girls pretty well. I swear I looked for her, but she was impossible to cap during this lesson.
Everyone practices individually (and loudly) after the lesson and we get some time with Makoto and Ai-chan.
Her voice is so breathy and unsure, as she is singing along with her cd. She is hesitating because she says she is having a problem with rhythm. She wants a score to get the rhythm down.
This really seems like Ai-chan. I’m sure it has something to do with her choral background, being sure about notes and things, but it’s also something I think has always been with her. I think this also shows a certain level of maturity. None of the other girls were concerned about these things at this point. That professionalism seems to have been there with Ai-chan from the beginning.
She seems like a perfectionist, in both the good and bad sense of the word. It causes her to be careful about her work, but also to be harder on herself. In every cap I got of Ai-chan, she has these wide eyes and this almost vacant look, like she’s always having to bring herself back from a daydream. So much must have been going through her head.
Then we have Makoto, who is singled out pretty quickly as a “top student”.
The first day she’s just laughing merrily whenever the camera is on her, even though she admits that she thinks there is definitely not enough time.
Makoto vows to be herself. I like her attitude a lot. It’s not arrogance or insecurity that you get from her, but just a sense that she’ll enjoy her experience. All you can really do is present yourself, ne? She seems to be able to take things as they come. It’s like she isn’t really aware of doing well, although the announcer makes it a point to say she is, at least at this point, one of the best of the nine.
Ai-chan and Makoto, rivals from the start, ne?
Next time: The Gokkies go through singing, dancing and acting lessons. This might be a 3 part post. We’ll have to see.