Brainstorming and Kimi Sae…etc.


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Fabulous gifs by Sakura Mankai! Thank you for making these! XD

I had a whole big post planned based on how many times I’ve watched the Brainstorming dance-shot, even though I swore I wouldn’t watch it as many times as I watched One.Two.Three. Ever since I’ve put it on my phone, I’ve been watching it on the bus and thinking about many things, when I wasn’t rocking out.

I seriously love that song. Then the other one came out.

So I had to do a bit of a re-write.

I guess I shouldn’t love Brainstorming, because as many, MANY people have pointed out, it’s like a casserole of the last three singles: it’s an inverted Help Me and Wakuteka with the robo-tech of all three. Think about it.

One.Two.Three started us down the Robo-Musume path. Wakuteka had the non-front-girl members get their robo-lines, complete with finger-shakin choreography; ditto Help Me, but while Wakuteka was going down the scale, Help Me was so high-pitched the very pv had to blast us with light to further the point. Now we’ve got some blissfully, full-throated singing and a dance with all the flail of OneTwoThree and all the sharp detail of the last two. Finally we’re seeing future front-girls Masaki-kins, Fuku-hime and Ayumin get some real vocal play. Sakura gets her power-line, Riho gets her solos…

As always, the only one getting the shaft is Zukki, but even so, I’ve almost never seen her looking cooler.

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Nya-uh, nobody gonna bring down da Zuk!

BOSS seems to have found her ‘thing’: her ever-present ‘bishounen‘ cap. Which I loved in Help Me and in this one.

Thing is, with one of those signature things, one has to know when to play them up and when to leave them alone.

Which leads me to the “new” A-side Kimi Sae…etc.

Some random thoughts upon my first viewing: The dance starts off with the middle of Renai Hunter, then becomes a creepy march, then just descends into absurdity. I was actually laughing. It’s just kinda uncomfortable all the way through. The strange dissonance in the verses is jarring, especially since the song starts out promising “2000 people on da dance floor”. Did you mean people, or scary robots?

I think Momusu should stay the hell away from yellow, especially if they’re going to be stuck in formless, baggy dresses every other single. The dresses just look terrible. I don’t think anybody pulls it off, although the random garters were a nice touch. And BOSS’s cap, as everybody has pointed out, just looks strange here. Ditto almost all the hats.

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Hey, that boy’s wearing a dress!
…Oh, wait.

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Oh, the chest-thrusting looks so silly…
Zukki looks really bored throughout this whole pv.
*face-palm*

As for the song itself, there are parts of it I like, but those are ruined by how jarringly robotic the song becomes. I know the other singles have had lots of “robo” elements, but it never felt this intrusive, like robots invaded the studio and decreed that real singing must be filtered into non-existence in favour of…well, that.

I think this is the reaction I was supposed to have towards Pyoko Pyoko Ultra. People seemed to be horrified by it, on a level I’d never seen. It was weird and childish and a damn insult after Takahashi’s fabulous grad single. And the costumes were YELLOW!!! Nobody seems to be on board with yellow/gold costumes (at least since The Peace! back in the day). And chickens! CHICKENS!! The huMANity!!!PPU01

I really enjoy that song though. Obviously, you have to be in the mood for it, but I didn’t listen to it and think, “oh my GAWD, what IS this!?”, I just thought of chocobos and happiness and went on with my life. Now it’s a delight when I hear it and it makes me laugh at myself for enjoying it.

This Kimi Sae Robot Dance just turned me off instantly. I think this is the first Momusu single that has ever done that. Name your least favourite Momusu single; I’ll bet you I LOVED it. That’s the way it always seems to go for Isilie. I either love it instantly or appreciate it later. I’ve never had a single that made me start laughing and want to switch it off.

Certain parts are ok…but overall, I’m just…not into it.

Since this is a double-a side, some have mentioned it might go the way of Matenrou Show and just never be mentioned again. Hopefully all we’re getting is a dance-shot, because I can’t see any normal close-up-dance-shot-pose pv saving this. I love Matenrou Show, but I get why it was overshadowed. Brainstorming should overshadow this one, because it is just so much better.

I know that it recycles a lot of elements, but rather than that cheapening the song, I feel like it’s a culmination of all Tsunku’s learned penning the last couple singles. It’s not only about what will sell best, but also what represents the group as it is right at this moment. Brainstorming is a song with a strong dance element, solo parts that aren’t entirely robo-one-liners (unless you’re Zukki), and a fierceness that just puts Shige and Winky right into the background (where they should be). Rather than a three girl front-line and back-ups, it’s feeling more and more like a group.

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The little dance-battle moment they threw into the pv is one element of this. Everyone else just steps back and lets the two dancers do their thing. It’s a frantic little push-and-shove, but it doesn’t feel out of place, nor does it take away from the song. Two colours, two sides, small battle…it’s like a tongue-in-cheek way of pointing out that rivalry has returned.

For a long time it felt like that wasn’t an important element in Momusu, but with all these new members, they have so many varying strengths that the rivalry just comes naturally. These two dancers, Ace and Ayumin, are going to be the heads of their respective generations if this emphasis on dancing img20130305095655772continues. Once Winky leaves, there is another solo spot open and they are pushing Ayumin more and more. Ace seems competitive by nature and she loves her spot – she will defend it just as Ayumin seems to be fighting for it. That makes for some awesome dancing and hopefully some kick-ass vocals down the road.

Ayumin gets a solo moment in both songs and each time she sounds great: she’s a bit unsure of herself, as far as vocals, but she seems keen to improve. Meanwhile, the much maligned Ace is getting better every single (at least when she isn’t forced to screech notes she should really stay away from).

Doesn’t that make you excited?

I guess it depends what you love most about Momusu’s music. If you’re in it for a certain kind of pop, you might hate all this robot stuff. If you don’t mind that and love to see choreography (I’m in the middle – I love good vocals and I love the dancing), the rise of the dancers should make you happy. Iikubo strikes me as a Kamei Eri character: a pretty weirdo who will grow into something amazing. The other Eri seems to be much the same. Weirdos thrive in Momusu – just look at Iida Kaori. Fukuhime is firmly underneath Shige’s wing and seems posed to take over leadership as soon as the opportunity arises (probably next year – let’s be realistic guys). She feels like the whole package to me.

One thing that does concern me is the seeming lack of variety opportunities for the ‘variety’ side of Momusu: Masaki-kins, Zukki and BOSS. Let me just preface this by admitting that I tend to stick to shows that have been subtitled, so there are probably quite a few appearances I haven’t seen yet. If anybody wants to direct me to good character-revealing variety moments, I’d welcome some suggestions. Otherwise I will run back through bro’s impressive back-log of unwatched Momusu gold and get back to you. But my opinions right now:

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Masaki-kins is likely going to be a 2nd lead down the line, considering her perfect-pitch, but beyond that she’s got Aibon’s sense of mischief and a cuteness that can get her out of any trouble that is just begging to be utilized.
Plus, a million points for having a Bohemian Rhapsody quote on that pink t-shirt.

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Chiima’s epic BOSS gif. Thank you!!

BOSS is our bishounen character, something I don’t think we’ve seen. Yossy was more of a tom-boy who grew into a host (@*EFGPHYWGRUSFJLSDW&RG^@TE@!!!) and then became glamorous-sporty-awesome (Y*(F^FELF8!!FIDSHU!!!). There was never this kinda tough, but pretty-boy image; she was much more laid-back. I loved seeing BOSS literally kick butt on Nakai’s Black Variety (even though I felt kinda sorry for this guy – comedians have it rough man) and I love how tough she was with her fellow generation members. If we can’t hear the “husky voice” in a single, then we can enjoy it while she’s kicking people who can’t fight back butt.

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Then there is Zukki. People don’t seem impressed with her any more. She’s not smiling enough. She’s not as skinny as the rest of them. She never gets to sing and when she does the mileage varies on how much people actually like her voice. There is endless innuendo or straight-up “concern” about her weight, despite frustratingly obvious facts like: not every Musume has been incredibly skinny all the time (see Ogawa Makoto, Kago Ai, Nacchi, Yossy etc, etc), she’s barely sixteen, and she’s surrounded on all sides by people like Iikubo who is 40 pounds soaking wet.

Leaving aside the weight thing (which shouldn’t stop people from loving her – seriously, calm down kids!), I don’t know where a personality like Zukki fits in to cool-robo-musume. She shines in songs like Yamete Yo Sinbad (obsessed with that song right now – I love the choreography so much), or her debut single. In songs like Brainstorming, Tsunku didn’t see fit to give her any moments in the center minus her little throw-away line, so we have no idea how she’d manage if given the chance.

It sort of feels like Zukki knows where her strengths lie. She’ll do her best with the dancing and singing, but as far as leaping into the center, it feels like she’ll step back and let the others do their thing. In variety situations, Zukki has already proven herself to be hilarious and fearless. Nakai Masahiro recognized it right away when she was on Black Variety and gave her a couple of really good moments.

Her smile is absolutely wonderful. It’s one of those smiles that can brighten up a room. But I am uncomfortable with the constant assertion that her smile is the ONLY good thing she’s got. I feel like if there was another show like Hello Morning where she could really show her stuff, people would shut the fuck up about her weight already. It doesn’t help that the costumes they tend to give the girls aren’t very flattering to her.

I hope the talk of her being unhappy and such is just talk. I really do.

I love mah Zuk.

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(Gif from Tumblr)

And I love these two. Zukki-Ri!! OTP time!

And what of Shige and Winky?

Simple.

Shige: here for at least another year, but she can pretty much move on any time. With this new audition, they might have her stay on two more years, but I don’t think it will be that much longer. And that’s fine by me. I feel like Shige has made her point, you know? She got by on charm alone and then threw in what should be really annoying character traits like the cute nonsense and her sharp tongue. But no, that just made more people notice her and talk about her. Now she’s got herself lots of variety experience and people know that inviting her on your show (especially if Misono is tumblr_m8pwkakWs01rdshxfo1_400there) will result in some epic moments. She’ll be fine.

Winky is leaving and I’ve made my feelings about that pretty clear (the celebration is 24/7 baby!). People have mentioned both that they wish she would step it up a little (because she looks like she’s phoning it in) and that they wish she got more solo lines (because this is her grad single!). I think she fades into the general group in each of these singles and I think that is how it should be.

Let’s throw in some AKB paraphrasing here: Shinoda Mariko is an older member of AKB48 and has been asked many a time why she doesn’t step down and let newer members step up. Her response was basically, “Why should I make it so easy for them? If they want my position, that’s fine, but they need to come and take it from me.

Winky doesn’t need to leave a gaping vocal hole in the group because Tsunku finally seems to realize he has more than three members to play around with. Sure, her vocal presence will be missed by many, but if she stayed, do you honestly think Ayumin, or Masaki-kins would be getting as many solo moments? I doubt it. It’s better to leave the group united, with girls that are ready and willing to step forward, than to leave that gap.

With Takahashi it was unavoidable. It isn’t anymore. Besides, she gets her stupid solo on one of the 500 editions. Wait for it.

All of this came from just: I love Brainstorming and the other one should disappear as fast as possible. Neat, huh?

I don’t know.
It’ll probably grow on me.

Maybe it’s the yellow.

~Isilie

7 thoughts on “Brainstorming and Kimi Sae…etc.

  1. I ranted about the second a-side and it’s really a song that I need to get used to as well With Brainstorming though, I fell in love. It’s badass from the beginning and as much as I love Zukki, they need to let her do something. I’d love for her to get a genki solo song on their next album so she can show the world her stuff. She’s got the power and she’s got the chops to sing but I think it’s the stamina factor that’s gonna do her in. And honestly, on the dance shots, they could have done much better blocking of the girl so everybody looked equal and one person (Zukki) didn’t look like an awkward pile of awkward teenage girl doing a half-assed version of the swim. As for the outfits they’ve been giving everybody lately, they seriously need to fire their stylist and get someone in there who knows how to dress all body types.

    Also, I’m with you on the yellow. It’s an ugly colour and it washes all of the girls out.

  2. Kimi Sae is a great song. The outfits and dance is the only letdown for me. Wish they let every member wear their own colour for the song…
    Epic Brainstorming is just epic
    Heres to100k first week sales for this double A-side

  3. Love your post 🙂 Kimi sae Iraba is a hit and miss song to be honest. Haha, I quite agree with your post! Upon first seeing this dance shot, I first thought “Renai Hunter much?” at the beginning. Or more importantly, it seems they are not only recycling dance moves but the sets and outfits. Nah, Brainstorming is better in my opinion than this. The song does not even appeal to me either. This is the first track since Pyoko Pyoko Ultra that I do not like. It’s also weird for Haruka to be wearing that hat with that dress as well in my opinion.

    1. The problem is the shape of the outfits they have been giving zukki. There are styles that will flatter her and ones that wont and I don’t know why the damn idiot stylist of mm keeps giving her the type that does not flatter. Also I like that the kimi sae one is different and I appreciate how hard that dance is (they have some really tough position changes that make you think the choreographers brains melted after creating brainstorming). And those yellow outfits look like pyoko pyoko X2(btw I am actually a fan of pyoko pyoko). There are some really awkward parts to the song that make it hard to get into but it has lots of parts that are good on their own. I actually like the 2000 people on the dance floor part but then maybe I’m a weirdo >,<

      1. Oh I don’t mind that part – it’s actually kinda awesome. I just think it’s that dissonance that bothers me. It’s kinda creepy and it takes me out of the song. The dance is definitely interesting and I give them props for pulling it off, I just laugh during some of the moves: eg. that odd jerk thing they do during some of the solo lines. And I agree about Zukki. There is so much they could do for her. Did people make this much of a fuss about Aibon’s weight, or Ogawas? I don’t remember it being such a huge issue with them. 0_o

      2. Quite agree about Zukki but also they need to stop giving Haruka that hat, at least with Help Me! and Brainstorming it suited the outfits. Mate, their dances isn’t hard. It’s just the timing throughout this whole era that they need to get right and they can easily master this dance. I guess the real trouble is juggling the singing while dancing like that.

        I think I’m the only person who doesn’t understand the 2000 people on the dancefloor thing. Can you explain that? Is it a part of the lyrics?

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