I’m really on a recent-Momusu kick right now. Am I really the only blogger who is enjoying the hell out of recent Momusu?
Anyway…viewing the aforementioned, recently English-subbed, DVD magazine was so much fun. And as most Momusu related things do, it made me think.
Thank goodness for fansubbers. They amaze me. They aren’t getting paid (I assume) for all the slaving they do, they are just sharing the wealth. It must take so long and it must be so frustrating. To do all that work just for the satisfaction of being able to share with other fans – that’s amazing to me.I appreciate them so much and I don’t comment nearly as much as my gratitude prompts me to. So, to all you fan-subbers – kudos. We’re grateful. Selfish as all hell, but grateful nonetheless.
You can call this sucking up if you want. Doesn’t change the fact that it’s true and you should all be damn grateful too.
That being said, let’s move on to the actual dvd.First of all, I didn’t sub this, or translate it. I’m going by HPS’s translations, so all credit goes to them – hence the grovelling to fansubbers I just did (seriously. Love you guys. THANK YOU!).
Now this isn’t a play-by-play review, as those seem tedious to me. This blog was started on a whim, is governed by whim and operates only when I feel the need to post my thoughts (and usually, far too many screencaps). To do a post that summarizes the whole thing seems tiring to me, which is why the Gokkie series is currently on hold. Besides, you should all watch it. What I’m here to comment on would be the segments in which we finally learn a little more about what the girls think of each other nowadays.
That, to me, is worth examining.
(Trust me, even if I had a life, I’d still be writing these…so hush.)
I’ve said it before, but I still think that Momusu has no outlet nowadays to show their personalities. They really haven’t given them much of anything in the past two years. Haromoni@ was, from what I read of reviews, a travesty compared to Hello!Morning. And Yorosen, while sometimes enjoyable, was so very. very scripted. There wasn’t really any place they could get up and move around, no place to show how they really interact with each other. No punishment games. No skits. No random comments. It was all just too safe.
This time around on the dvd-magazine the concept is this: the staff has set up a camera and then they direct the girls to sit in front of it and say whatever they want. That’s really all that happens. While one girl does her interview about the concert tour, or photoshoot, the ones waiting get to goof around as much as they wish. The only rule is: don’t be too loud or too quiet.
Now, these moments are the ones you should watch the dvd for.
Some examples include:
Winky and Junjun’s various facial expressions…this would be Junjun’s ‘anger’ face.
Winky can’t help but grin…which is understandable.
Junjun eating something sexily.
And again…with ‘pink lighting’.
Linlin even supplies the “music” for this little scene…
Which makes everyone laugh and hit her.
Damn, they’re so delightful…I even include Winky in that, because she’s usually the one orchestrating all the fun.
Yeah, that makes me annoyed, but I gotta give credit when it’s due. Winky, when she’s not alone, is pretty entertaining, making everyone do silly things. Her and Junjun are usually together in this and they seem to get along famously, which pretty much pokes all kinds of holes in my irritation at her bitchy MC moment with Junjun in Platinum 9 (like I said though, it would have bothered me no matter who it was…I’m a sensitive soul, I guess).
Forgive the Junjun picspam there, but those moments were too awesome to leave un-capped. It would take too long to summarize all the good moments for you. Just watch it. To a certain extent, all the girls are amusing.The interview question is what interested me the most. They are asked to summarize each other in one word.
Let’s look at this closely.
She explains that Kamei is warm-hearted and humane. She thinks that she has a very natural way about her, so “human-like” in her words, movements and expressions.
Reina: “rotates around many words”
These words/phrases include “soft with no energy”, “umeboshi” (dried plum) and “konbu” (seaweed). She doesn’t really explain these except to conclude with, “Eri can’t really speak smoothly -AH! She’ll get mad when she sees this!”
Kusumi: “we’re always doing things together”
She says that when they do location shooting and have to split into teams, she’s always with Kamei. Even though she looks like she’s thinking pretty hard about it, that’s all she says.
Mitsui: “doesn’t look like she’s really 20”
She says that Kamei is easy to get along with and friendly, but at first she was scared of her. Apparently when she started, Mitsui would greet everyone over and over again and Kamei told her she didn’t have to do that with a smile that scared her.
Linlin: “an airhead…someone who is easy to get close to”
She talks about how Kamei is not a morning person. Early in the morning, she will greet Linlin with her eyes closed, like she’s still sleeping.
She says that Kamei hasn’t lost her “mothering instincts” but she’s basically just a cute idiot.
Mame: “limp…like she’s always limping around”
Niigaki says she thought that Kamei would be the most reliable member of the sixth generation, but she’s always been so laid back, saying things like, “ah, it’s fine like this.” So, while they are the same age, she still feels like a junior.
Kamei on herself: “random”
She remarks that she hasn’t really changed. Her motivations tend to be random, but she wants to assure everyone that she does have motivations.
Thoughts: Kamei has a wonderful laugh. When she answered the question about the other members it felt like there was a sort of naivety to her observations. She gives the feel of a girl who is easily impressed and she even mentions that she is someone who is “easily influenced”. There is something refreshing about that. To a certain extent there is something she admires in all the members. She seems a bit spacey, but sweet. People comment a lot that she seems like the ideal girlfriend and you do get the feeling that she’d be a relaxing presence, but that’s really all I can say for Kamei here.
Lately Reina really seems like a senpai to Kusumi. She says she’s great to have around.
Reina was the first person in Momusu to really take an interest in her outside of work. She was the first to email her, the first to invite her somewhere to eat and so on.
I needed you to see this face she makes when she says, “girlfriend”
“She’s so little, like you want to hug her!” Junjun really does seem like a guy when she says this. She says Reina is so small that it really feels like she’s her boyfriend.
Yossy the 2nd?
Linlin: “queen of fashion”
Apparently when Reina enters the room, Linlin goes, “WOA!” because of her fashion-sense.
She means that Reina is a lone-wolf in terms of her individuality. She emphasizes the things she wants to say more than anyone else. “You could say she pulls you along like this.”
To Niigaki, Reina really knows herself well. Even though she can come across as stuck-up, she loves to talk about herself and is persistent about her thoughts. She’ll often share things she’s into or what’s going on in her life.
Kamei: “hasn’t changed”
Her clothing and her way of speaking has changed at all and that really impresses Kamei.
Shige struggles for a very amusing minute trying to remember which four-character idiom she attributes to Reina. She’s very proud of herself when she finally comes out with, “right to the point”.
Reina on herself: “yanki”
She says that she’s probably a bit ‘yanki’ and comes across as cheeky, but she doesn’t feel that this impression is truly her.
Thoughts: Winky really surprised me here. We all know that I’m not a fan of hers, but what’s interesting about watching her on this dvd is that she was always a good presence. She’d always poke fun at the members in her answers and when she was goofing around with them, she just kept making them do ridiculous things while she egged them on. She always kept the momentum going. Everyone seems comfortable with her. I didn’t get a bully vibe, like I expected to. Winky of all people, seemed like someone who would be really fun to hang out with.
And yes, that pisses me off. Because as a performer, I really can’t stand her. Something about her stage presence really bothers me. But in terms of Winky as a person, I think she might be kinda cool…at least on this particular dvd. Usually she’ll annoy the hell out of me no matter what. I just liked how she interacted with everyone.
*grumbles* She’s so annoying. Now she’s turned me into a damn hypocrite.
Linlin: “spicy Jun-ko”
Apparently Junjun eats things that are so spicy that Linlin can’t stand the smell of them. Even so, Junjun will keep eating whatever it is, insisting it’s not spicy at all.
Takahashi: “mood maker”
Junjun expresses her feelings very well and she’ll be honest about what’s on her mind. She mentions that Junjun also has a “disgusting character” that she puts on now and then, apparently to amuse herself. She gets everyone around her to tell her it’s disgusting.
[Remind you of anyone?]
She thinks Junjun is the kind of girl who will worry after you. She talks about a time during the Cinderella play where her throat was sore and Junjun gave her a “remedy” and then sent her emails about how to use it properly. She said that the Japanese in her emails wasn’t always correct, but she could tell Junjun had worked hard to type them out and was touched.
She does weird, but interesting things and will give people energy.
Junjun is easy to be with and gives her a “refreshing feeling”. She says that she doesn’t think Junjun shows her true character around the group, but she is someone who always invents a new self.
Reina: “xiaolongbao” (dumplings?)
When they were making faces together, Junjun kept saying hers looked like this and Reina had no idea what she meant. She realized that Junjun was referring to how round her face is. She made Reina want to eat.
Kusumi: “What is with that person?”
She says that she doesn’t talk with Junjun all that much, so when they started doing those MCs together during concerts (where they squabble like children) it sorta broke the ice. “Like, suddenly we’re friends.”
Mitsui: “mature, but bratty, insistent and cutesy like a child”
She likes this.
(Really. That’s all she said.)
Junjun on herself: “a person who can take on many traits”
She has her bad or horrible moments, but she can be cute and kind also.
Thoughts: Junjun is so delightful. She has a very male kind of presence that endears me to her because I always seem to adore that sort of character (Yossy anyone?). It’s not only the male-type thing, it’s also that she can be goofy as hell and get away with it. It seems like she’s always pimping on someone to a certain extent.
She can make everyone laugh really easily and she seems ready with a response no matter what is going on. I feel like she really holds her own. I think in terms of her switching her personality around all the time (see Shige’s comment) , she must be someone who is very adaptable. I don’t think it’s a case of hiding her real self, so much as going with the flow. Some people can do that – they can be any sort of character if that makes everyone more comfortable. That’s quite a useful trait for an idol, ne?
Takahashi: “younger sister”
When Linlin first joined, she decided to sit and talk with her. There wasn’t much to talk about back then, but just being with her was enough. There were even moments when Linlin would start crying. She doesn’t elaborate any more, just says that, “our bonds are tight in Morning Musume.”
When Niigaki is in a good mood, she’ll start humming and if Linlin is around, she’ll start to hum the same tune. She reminds her of Ishikawa Rika, a positive person who livens up the mood.
Kamei: “feeling of family love”
Kamei believes that because her family is back in China, Linlin is always loving. It’s as though others are more important to her now because her family is so far away.
When Linlin would suddenly go, “haha!” Shige really didn’t get it at first, but since she’s around Linlin so much lately, she’s noticed how funny it is. She’s afraid she’ll get used to it.
Reina: “A 30 year old”
(That’s really all she said.)
Kusumi: “a junior who seems like a senpai”
She seems smart and capable of anything.
Mitsui: “head in the clouds”
From the beginning, Linlin struck Mitsui as a princess with her head in the clouds. When she dances her face changes and makes Mitsui feel like “ah! here’s a true artist!” She’s impresses her.
Junjun: “someone who eats a lot”
She gives Junjun the impression of someone who is always eating.
…kay. Moving on…
Linlin on herself: “ha-ha musume”
Everyday when she gets up, the first thing she does is smile in the mirror and say, “ha ha ha!” This makes her happy all day and she thinks we should all do it too.
Thoughts: Oh, Linlin. You’re so endearing… She really doesn’t seem like the powerhouse she becomes on stage. She strikes me as very much a little-sister to everyone. She clearly loves all the members and she seems free around them. She’s goofy and silly and even if the others don’t get it, it doesn’t phase her at all. Her “ha ha ha”s for instance. She proudly states that everyone should this, even though it’s kinda nonsensical. And she still seems to have a bit of an accent, which just makes me giggle every time I hear it.
There is something really awkward about her at times. She can be a little stiff or kinda spastic because she is clearly nervous, but I think those moments are very natural. Also, on a random side-note, when she bursts into laughter (which happens a lot on this dvd) she looks ridiculous and beautiful at the same time. Not everybody can pull that off, but Linlin is just that sort of ‘musume’.
Mitsui: “noisy but it’s fine.”
She’s energetic and very loud.
She says Kusumi is energetic with a high-pitched voice you can hear for miles. She makes Linlin energetic too. “Like, my tension gets high.”
Apparently Kusumi kept saying she was a miracle by herself when she first joined. Takahashi says she’s reliable now and will reassure her now and then. She still calls her ‘Takahashi-san’ even though she said it’s ok for her to call her ‘Ai-chan’.
Kusumi is someone who is always smiling. If she ever gets tired or depressed Niigaki hasn’t seen it. She’s been guiding her juniors also.
Kamei: “mood maker”
When the girls are all together and having a really heavy discussion, Kusumi will lighten up the mood by saying something or doing something “amusing”.
That’s all she says here, but elsewhere on the dvd (and I’m paraphrasing) she tells a story about how during one song she was supposed to switch places with Kusumi and when Kusumi didn’t switch she yelled “SORRY!!” in the middle of the song. Shige thought, “wow, she must be really free to not care that we’re in the middle of the song.”
Reina: “smiley face with giant eyelashes”
That’s all…but as far as word pictures go, it’s pretty accurate.
Kusumi on herself: “Koharu is Koharu”
She doesn’t examine herself in this way. She feels that she’s simply herself and that’s enough.
Thoughts: Kusumi, when I’ve seen her onstage, always seemed like she’s eaten a huge pile of sugar or been at the crack-pipe. A few times, she’s been really cute, but her spastic nature was really jarring to me. It was refreshing to see her on this dvd being a normal (ish) girl. When she speaks, she’s amazingly calm and collected, like she’s really thinking through her answers. And her voice is rather deep when she’s just talking normally. Everyone agrees that she’s loud, but they appreciate her cheerfulness.
When I think about tiny Kusumi, who came into Momusu as this smiley little miracle child all by herself and how she had to work so hard to get to this point, it makes me kinda proud. No, I’m not a fan of her solo stuff. Yes, I will always make fun of her crazy cracked-out faces. No, I’ve not been the biggest fan of her voice. But, same as Winky, I liked her as a person on this dvd. She just seems like a nice, cheery girl, which is the image I used to get from her and the image that has been overpowered in recent years by her sugary-crazy-hyper-pop. I hope she’ll keep maturing, cause I think if she keeps working on it, her voice could be really interesting. Goodness knows her dancing has gotten pretty great…
[Sidenote: What the hell is with all these people who find my site while searching for ‘jailbait’. That is ALWAYS my top search term when I look at my site stats…the point of that post was to say that those pics were just WRONG…but hey, far be it for me to discourage people finding this site. They must get really disappointed that there are only two pics, eh? Yeesh.]
Junjun: “surprisingly mature”
She’s a bit strange at times, but cute.
Linlin: “smart, smiling musume”
Her smiles gives Linlin a warm feeling.
She’s always “yapping and running around” like a puppy. She likes dogs a lot so…
(Yeah that’s all she says)
Mame: “little sister”
Mitsui reminds Niigaki of her real sister and how she acts spoiled. She doesn’t want her to change that part of her.
Kamei: “without temperament”
She says Mitsui is a very kind girl who emails her things that brighten up her mood.
Apparently Mitsui worries so much that it makes Shige worry about her. However, she is reliable and will thoroughly check her dancing each time.
Mitsui’s strongest point, for Reina, is her chin. It’s significant apparently, but she says it’s her charm point. She wishes she had the same sort of chin.
Since they are the same age, Kusumi just considers her a normal friend, like the kind she’d find at school.
Mitsui on herself: “wolf in sheeps clothing”
When she first joined they told her that she “really knows how to pretend”, but she says all these parts of her are the truth. For instance, when she’s cold, down or spoiled and also when she’s fooling around, these are all parts of her.
Thoughts: I hoped that the comments would tell me more about Mitsui and they sort of didn’t. My impression of her initially was, “…wut?” But that’s typical of Tsunku, taking a chance on someone because her dancing was so languid and he’d never really seen that before.If you watch Egao Yes Nude, you really see her sort of languidly going through each move. It’s pretty funny.
When she speaks she has the weird, old granny sort of vibe to her. It’s in her voice and the goofy smile she gets when she talks about the other members. Maybe it’s the way her voice gets a little nasal too. Even so, Mitsui has moments where she is so cute that I almost can’t stand it. She’s so clearly the youngest member, but there are times when she seems like a senpai. I can’t even explain her very well.
My impression after viewing this dvd is that she is much more comfortable with herself and the group than she was around, let’s say, the alo!hello dvd where they all had to travel around Hawaii in teams and her and Takahashi could barely find two words to say to each other (they were both too damn shy). Her spoiled kid side and mature side seem to blend seamlessly and while I can’t figure out how exactly, I’m interested enough to keep watching her.
Kamei: “wonderful smile”
She’s always loved Niigaki’s smile, right from the beginning. She finds her very cute when she’s excited. I believe “GAH!” was the phrase she used.
Shige: “I’m inconsiderate of her”
Shige always notices changes in Niigaki’s clothing or nails way too late. She’ll comment and then Niigaki will tell her that she hasn’t changed anything in a few weeks. She seems pretty embarrassed about this.
Niigaki is particular about time and is always wearing a watch, so Reina checks the time through her.
Kusumi: “tsukkomi” (striaghtman in comedy duo)
She has a lot of fun during MCs with her.
Mitsui: “quick thinking”
She says that Niigaki is very good at continuing conversations and admires her for it.
She’s very reliable.
Linlin: “kind green princess”
For some reason, Linlin thinks she must like the colour green. She says Niigaki is kind and will invite her to go to Yokohama (her hometown) or give her food.
Takahashi: “big sister”
Even though she’s younger, Takahashi sees her as a councellor type who will ask you what is wrong if you look down. She’s reliable and dependable.
Mame on herself: “scatter-brain”
She contradicts Mitsui and says that she really doesn’t handle conversations well. She also worries about being late and will always be too early, by about a half hour.
Thoughts: It doesn’t surprise me that Niigaki is a little harsh with herself. What does surprise me, is how right Junjun is when she calls her “papa”. You really do get that feeling from her, in the way she gives a jolly sort of laugh as she describes Linlin’s hum-snatching or how “limp” Kamei is. The affection she has for the members is there, but rather than the ‘mother-hen’ image I had of her, I sense a much more fatherly affection. Niigaki has always been a bit more boyish to me than anything else, even when she’s being adorable. She seems like she’d be able to scold gently and calm someone down even if she thinks she’s not good at such things.
[Sidenote: She dreams of drinking together with all the members – that’s so Niigaki and so ‘papa-like’ at the same time, isn’t it?]
It’s delightful to discover that we have another father+mother leader and sub-leader vibe. Got the same vibe with Miki and Yossy, but in a vastly different sense. The things riida and mame notice about the members always struck me as a little bit deeper than the things the juniors notice about each other. There’s less a sense of admiration and more of a realistic and endeared affection. It’s not that the juniors are immature (not neccessarily, anyway), it’s just that Niigaki and Takahashi are older and much more experienced. Of course the perspectives will be different.
Reina: “character has changed recently”
Reina says that while she was cutesy at first, she’s really become someone with a “wicked tongue”. Sometimes her comments will be a little jarring.
Kusumi: “was my educator – and that never really changed”
Shige is easy to talk to and Kusumi will chat with her about random things. The only problem with this is that those things some times show up on Shige’s radio show. Kusumi wonders if the things they’ve talked about were really that interesting,
Mitsui: “one who easily slips up in her speech”
She tends to think that Mitsui is joking when she’s being serious, so she will turn around and let things get exposed. (Exposed, eh??)
Junjun: “cute but…”
She feels that Shige has become more mature.
Linlin: “cutest in the universe”
Her sparkling eyes remind Linlin of a manga character and her “talks” are interesting.
She has no idea where Shige “learns all those phrases from”, but even though she’ll get most of them wrong, she can keep talking and talking endlessly. She knows how to choose her words.
Niigaki talks about how Shige seems to have the “words for any situation.” She describes her as all “all-talk tsukkomi” and says the mistakes Shige makes will spice things up. She also references the way Shige fails to notice things about her on time (eg. thinking she’s changed her nails on a day that she hasn’t).
Kamei: “keeps her lips sealed”
Apparently Kamei trusts Shige a lot. I guess she doesn’t blurt out the things Kamei tells her as much as she does the things Mitsui tells her. Kamei says that she gets along best with her and she’s a reliable person.
Shige on herself: “cute” (you were expecting anything else?)
The reason for this answer is that Shige wishes to be cute forever. Rather than becoming a beautiful and mature woman when she turns 20, she wishes to become cuter. It’s important to her that other people feel she is cute.
Thoughts: I’ve recently become a fan of hers. It’s one of those things that you fall into rather helplessly and that’s exactly how she wants it. If anyone else said, “I want to be cuter” it would irritate me to no end, but when she says it, it’s just so like her that I can’t even get angry. It really is as though her character has changed. With a lot of musumes, they seemed to suddenly power-up when they reach a certain age and Shige seems to have come to that point. Although, it is interesting that it’s important to her that others think she is cute. She used to just be fine saying it herself, but I guess everyone needs reassurance now and then.
Well, Shige, you’re cute. Ridiculously so.
So please, get more mature.
I don’t actually think she’s immature. I think she knows exactly what she’s doing, so that even when she inevitably messes up something she can cover it up gracefully. Takahashi commented on her many phrases and Niigaki on her ability to come up with words for any situation. That’s a real skill.
She seems to delight in the members, as though they amuse and as though she has little idea how much she amuses them. I like that Winky alluded to her blunt, or “dark Sayu” side. She really can get away with anything, can’t she? It seems like she would have no idea that her comments are mean.
But then again, who knows?
If Takahashi has decided that something must be done a certain way, she will always do it that way, even if someone shows her a better way to do it. In this way, Niigaki feels she is very clear about herself.
Kamei: “kind, modest, humble”
She thinks that riida is wonderful. From the start Takahashi has always worked hard and greeted everyone properly.
From the beginning, even before she was in Momusu, Shige admired Takahashi and to this day she is still her favourite member. She looks up to her because she knows how much work Takahashi put in to achieve this current level. Shige loves her cool expressions and says her dancing is always “pretty”.
Reina: “old clothing”
Takahashi’s fashion-sense (or lackthereof) reminds Reina of old clothing. She’s sure Takahashi understands it, but she really doesn’t get it.
Kusumi: “good person”
Takahashi is someone who cherishes the group. To Kusumi, she seems to understand everyone and will take the time to teach them one by one. She’s glad that Takahashi is leader, but more than that she just feels happy that they are members together.
Mitsui: “person who aims at the world”
Mitsui describes riida’s dancing as ‘ero-kakkoi’ (sexy cool). She loves her singing voice and the way she follows the rhythm but still manages to make the dance her own.
Linlin: “charming leader”
Her charm point is her sexy gaze. It’s so powerful that Linlin feels like even girls who see it will feel like their hearts “are about to come out”.
Takahashi on herself: “AH! Here it comes!”
She looks quite pained trying to come up with something and babbles for a bit. She muses that it’s probably bad if you don’t know about yourself, but it’s a big mystery. She settles on ‘cat’, except wait, no! She doesn’t know! This is hard! ‘Country bumpkin’ maybe? No, no, no. Finally she says she’s probably a crybaby because when she feels regret, or frustration because she’s not been able to achieve something (something hasn’t come out right, etc.) she will burst into tears.
Thoughts: Takahashi is widely recognized as an awesome performer and rightly so, but she is HELPLESS on this dvd. She’s barely there when they goof around and when she does show up she begs someone to come talk to her and then bails really fast. It’s like her Futarigoto, where she eventually just stares at the camera asking, “what should I do?” and ends up reading a book (ie bailing) until Kamei comes in. To a certain extent this is endearing, that she’s shy, but it’s also slightly worrying.
Her comment about her tears almost always being about “regret” makes me worry about her. She performs so well, but seems really harsh on herself. It took her a long time to come to any conclusion about herself, let alone explain it. When she talks about the members though, Takahashi really comes to life.
She speaks warmly about everyone. In Kusumi’s words, “she seems like she cherishes the group”. She really feels like a “mama” character, like she’s been watching over everyone and loves them all. They are her support, because without them, we’d just have her staring helplessly into the camera. Her anxiety in those moments was so strong, I felt a bit sorry for her. I guess one can worry that such an emotional leader won’t be as effective, but I think for this particular group of girls it really unites them. They respect her talent and they know she feels for them. Like she said, “[their] bonds are really tight in Morning Musume”.
Final Thoughts: So I guess I summarized quite a lot there, but I think you should definitely watch the dvd. So many funny or cute moments that just can’t be capped…This dvd, more than anything, made me love the girls as people and I’ve not really had a chance to do that for a long time.
When we had Hello!Morning we could watch them as people and I realize that even that show was very scripted ( it only tv-it’stheirjob-blahblahblahetc), but we felt affection for them as they embarrassed themselves and each other playing insane games and doing crazy skits. This dvd was nothing close to that sort of zany, but we get a glimpse at the girls just hanging out (finally) and we get a brief view into how their relationships work.
Stability has been good to them. Really, watching them just talking to each other made me like everyone, even boring Takahashi, wrapped in her blanket and helpless and even Winky and Nutjob, who I basically CANNOT STOMACH for more than a minute. I might never like those two as performers, but they seem like good people that would be interesting to hang out with.
That’s a pretty big deal.