Ai no Gundan/Jooku


wagamamagundanmomusupic

I made a graphic. Why? Because I wanted to. Because it’s a double-a side and both of the dance screencaps I wanted to use here were too awesome to choose just one.

I’m so sorry guys. I fail at posting more in 2013, but if you thought I wouldn’t comment on the new Momusu single(s), you’re just completely nuts.
They. Are. Awesome.

I’ve read a bunch of reviews of these and overwhelmingly it seems that Ai no Gundan wins against Wagamama etc. People prefer it, even though (to me) both songs are very strong.

I think I’ve figured it out.

We’re in the Robo-Musume age and there is a lot of dancing going on. Brainstorming was probably one of the dance-heaviest songs in recent memory. One of the concerns I started to have after this Robo-Musume age began was that the songs wouldn’t translate live. Resonant Blue never really sounded as good live as it did in the studio (for me), precisely because of the effects (namely the GakiKamei “dakedo, nee, nee, dakedo” parts).

With songs like Wagamama etc. the danger is breathlessness. I have yet to see many livevlcsnap-2013-08-05-23h01m07s69 performances of Brainstorming, so I have no idea if the insane level of dance affects the vocals more than it normally would. Takahashi once said that they are never allowed to lip-synch in concerts (not sure that’s entirely true – I can think of a few appearances where at least a couple of the girls were lip-synching), so their “abs are surprisingly tight”.

I honestly wouldn’t mind if they took a break and lip-synched Wagamama. The dance makes me so happy that I can barely describe it to you. Hair flipping, slappin’ each other, desperately reaching side-to-side and posing cheekily with diva-hands? Yes please!

That being said, I think it would feel strange if they started down that road. One of the best things about Momusu concerts is that the vocals aren’t exactly the same as the studio version. You can see their sweat and effort and hear that it’s being performed. As Bro put it, “If I wanted to listen to the recorded version, I’d just put on the cd.”

And before you start, I’m aware that it’s dubbed over once it’s converted to dvd to make it all pretty and marketable, but it doesn’t change the fact that during the actual night they sang it live as best they could.  Am I wrong there?

Let me talk about Ai no Dangan- ugh, stop confusing us Tsunku! Gundan, the clear fan-favourite before I start spamming.vlcsnap-2013-08-14-02h36m09s141

Make no mistake – I love this song. I’ll be capping the hell out of Wagamama here (because I honestly think the pic spams on this haven’t even scratched the surface of its awesome), but Ai no Gundan is wonderful. It’s relentlessly catchy and everybody who gets a line sounds lovely. At last we have what sounds like a real instrument in there and they’ve toned down the autotune enough that it will probably translate well in concert.

Ace’s little “OW!” squeak is so adorable I want to hug her.

I think the subconscious reason people like this one better is because it feels more like Momusu than Wagamama does. Wagamama just doesn’t sound like anything else they’ve done, minus its A-side companion. Ai no Gundan is toned down robo-Musume. There is just enough newness to make it interesting, but the hooks feel very familiar. Wagamama feels like an all out aggressive dance number, like Songs (from the lovely Platinum 9 album). It sounds so similar to Gundan, but it’s like Gundan with teeth. It doesn’t let up, even for a second. It invites, but it also kinda makes you nervous.

Or excited.
Can these girls pull this one off, over and over? I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to find out.

Let’s talk about choreography.

First: Ai no Gundan – and the very few caps I have, since this one has been capped to death already:

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Please ignore the laughably derp-y subtitles. Bless their hearts for trying, but most of the “translation” makes no damn sense.

I capped from the dance-shot, despite the bubbly loveliness of the regular pv, just cause I love this dance so much. I love that they don’t overdo the march, like they did in Kimi Sae Robot Bloop, but they keep up sharp angles and beautifully timed sweeps. The whole routine is that unique H!P mix of really interesting and really odd looking and I can’t stop watching it.

The dance-break made me just gape at my computer like a moron.

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Woa, wait, where are you-they are SO CLOSE TOGETHER and yet no one is getting kicked or hit in the face.

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LEAPS! They jump so fast I can’t even-

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And accidental safety-pants flash finish!
And Isilie is DUMBFOUNDED with how awesome that was.

Let’s review that here (gif courtesy of WasurenaideKudasai)

gundandancebreakwasurenaidekudasai

*dies*

I could watch that gif all day…makes me wish I could dance. It’s the intro to Brainstorming all over again…with way better costumes. Don’t these costumes kinda remind you of a girly-M.Bison? At least for some of them?

I don’t even know who to watch. I feel like I’m watching everybody.

Yes, even those pushed to the back are working it.

Let’s move on to the pic-spam, shall we? Wagamama ki no Mama Ai no Jooku (yes, I’m writing it the way it sounds) is catchy too. That intro is an ear-worm if I ever heard one. The chorus hits me so hard, every time that I’m practically jumping from my seat by the time they get to the slap-slap that people can’t stop talking about.

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Ace: “Betta recognize!”
F: “Zuuuu…”
(gif not mine – random tumblr)

Of course the four main girls (and Shige) are pushed pretty hard, but I don’t have any objections to that. It’s such a blessed relief to have more than two front-girls. Their voices all sound similar so far, but that’s really just a nit-pick, because they can sing. Ayumin is hanging by a thread, vocals-wise, but bless her heart, she’s improving.

The only thing that really doesn’t fit for me is the clear audience shout-out moment, “ai saretai”. Just feels out of place, but I get it. They need to pull the audience in a bit because otherwise it would just be silent people gaping at the pwn.

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When did Riho get so beautiful? Ace is stunning in both these pvs. I couldn’t stop staring at her.

Maybe she doesn’t “cheat with a smile”-

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-She does however, slap with a smile. And Shige doesn’t feel like slapping as much as she feels like showing off her nails.

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I love everything about this cap. Look at EVERYONE – Shige’s mocking Sakura’s slap attempt – Masaki-kins isn’t phased by slaps, even from Zukki – Fukuhime has shocked the hell out of Ace with her unexpected strength..

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Seriously though, Ace earns her nickname here and then some. Her smirk no longer seems like forced confidence, but genuine mischief. And her dancing is eye-catching as ever. This is the first song in which I was unconsciously following her with my eyes, not peering around her to see the others.

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And Sakura is finally starting to have some personality.

She’s still a little shy, but it does seem like she’s enjoying herself now, rather than just hanging on for dear life.

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PIMPLES! YEAAAAAAAAAAH!

I should really just include every shot with these four. Zukki is so pretty!!

Random: When I watched Chiima’s (Okay Musume Time) reaction to this video, she said the same thing.

I just want you to know, Chiima, that I also said “Zukki is so pretty” in pretty much the same tone (but without your lovely accent) when I watched this pv for the first time. Spooky, eh?

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S: “See this girl? She is the BEST, yall!”
Z: “Naaah, that’s the booze talkin’ everybody.”
A: “Is that where the camera is?”
B: “Had it up to here with the slappin’, guys!”

Only Ayumin seems to continuously derp her way through most of her close-ups. I’m sorry to say it, but the only time she doesn’t look strange is when she’s dancing. Her close-up shots still have that weird expressionless feel to them. And her wide-eyed stare just makes you nervous if you look at it for too long.

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Ayumin – at peace on the dance-floor.

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B: “LOVE MEEEEEEEEEE!”
Z: “Ok, this is getting out of control-“
A: “I knew it! Hi Mr Camera!”

I love all these panning shots.

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RIHO-UPPERCUT!!

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…Too easy.

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S: “Now kiddies, save that for my dressing room later-”
F: “Don’t talk about that on camera riida…”
I: “Ooookay? Derp.”

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In which the subtitle and the image match far too perfectly.

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Did anybody else notice how randomly pissed-off Eri-pon is? I mean, what is her expression here? What is pissing her off about Masaki-kins?

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E: “Ahhh you did NOT just hit me- you know what? We can DO dis, Oda! I ain’t afraid of y-“

Did I mention pretty Zukki? At last we have an outfit that doesn’t make her look like a barrel.

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Thanks WonderMusume@tumblr for the gif!

Zukki and Sakura are delightful. I love seeing them smile.

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Fuku-hime is officially the whole package for me now: beautiful, good singer, good dancer, sub-leader, insanely watchable and can randomly make me melt with how unexpectedly cool she is.

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Masaki-kins seems unfazed by anything, including Eri-pon’s arm-pit attack. She is there, being cool and aggressive and suddenly you get this “I pwn and I know it” smile. She’s not answering your fan letters and she’ll probably laugh at you if you meet her, or hide under the table or something – but you LOVE it and she knows it.

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Harukins is a cutie in this one. Gone is the cap and the BOSS attitude and she’s just having the time of her life and being adorable.
Gotta say – I love this version of her too. She’s a dangerous one.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our gracious leader Shige.

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She spends both Gundan and Wagamama being gorgeous and doing her best at singing, even though she still…well, she’s Shige, bless her heart. It’s a bit odd to see her there among all those kids, but it’s not distracting. I don’t get a strong leader feeling from her in the sense of her being in charge, but I do feel like she loves her kouhai and isn’t threatened in the least. Rather it feels like she knows her position is secure and she wants us to pay attention to all the pwn around her.

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You know, after we bow before her.

ERI! Quit pokin people!

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Oh Miss Derp…she’s barely there in this pv, but still goes from derp to gorgeous every few seconds when you do see her.

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Derpy goat face!

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Love everything about THIS cap too. THEY ALL LOOK CRAZY!! RUN ACE!!! RUUUUUUUUUUUUUN!

vlcsnap-2013-08-07-03h50m06s62One of the best things about this pv is the location: something very epic about an empty theatre and then there is the novelty of seeing Momusu get to be on location for once rather than stuck in a studio. I even like that the lighting switches from shadows to SO BRIGHT THEY HAVE NO FACIAL MUSCLES (see literally any close-up of Ayumin). It works with the stark black-and-white costumes.

Overall, based on the two a-sides alone, this is a strong release for them. While Gundan is the favourite for most, I can’t really decide which I prefer. I’d probably sing along to Gundan all the time but watch the pv (especially the dance-shot) for Wagamama all the time. Maybe it’s just that Winky isn’t there to annoy me anymore, but I really have no issues with line distribution. Our new front girls are stepping up beautifully.

If you want me to be more critical here, I could complain that all the voices sound alike, but then I’d have to defend it too, saying that they’re all really young right now. And also that is probably what the company wants, in which case there’s nothing the girls can really do.

I can’t wait to hear the b-sides for these.

PS: I still have more caps.
Wait for it.

~Isilie

2 thoughts on “Ai no Gundan/Jooku

  1. OMG, ISILIE!!!!! You have returned! I think I nearly fell off my chair when I saw my blog roll updated with your blog… yes, I was a happy bunny. Makes me Hap-pinku very much so!

    I have missed these… ahhh, this was so funny XD I love Wagamama a lot, I think the song is amazing… it definitely wins over Why no Gun, Man (I have a feeling they only say ‘Wai’ instead of Ai’ because of Riho’s accent XD) and yay for slappin’! Riho is definitely getting prettier, I think. She ain’t plain no more… also, majore sniggers at your commenting at finally looking at Riho and not peering around her XD ❤ Heart's all around!

    I was extremely surprised to see my name in here o-O I was unaware you watched my videos… -feeling all embarrassed now-

    I NEED MORE SCREEN CAPS! And more Isilie goodness, of course~ ❤

  2. harunan managed a few close ups in wagamama and you knew she was there at least. In gundan she literally has one micro close up and thats it. The rest of the shots she’s either in the back of the dance or with Riho and Haruka.

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