Don’t hide your faces Momusu. We know you’ve taken a risk again.
And we LOVED it!
At least people are probably saying it’s a risk…
We have the beginning of another triple-a side with three stunning pvs, but I saw this one first and in the traditional Isilie way, I capped it the way I capped One.Two.Three way back when the ‘colourful’ era began. For the sake of honesty, my favourite of the three songs is Sukatto my Heart, but this one, for obvious reasons, is the first of the posts.
Let me just echo basically everyone by saying, FINALLY!!!
First thing you need to know is this isn’t your typical pv, because there are non-Ace members in the forefront: BOSS and Zukki. Oda plays a small part, as does Masaki-kins, but these two are in the center for most of it. Now why would this be risky?
Well it ain’t the status quo, that’s for sure.
BOSS: “No fucking kidding.”
Zukki: “Soooo boring.”
I haven’t read a reaction yet that is anything other than a resounding ‘YAY’, as though everybody has been waiting for this. I never could have predicted it. In fact, I struggled to figure out why, of all the talent he has waiting in the wings, Tsunku chose these two. I know why I would have, but I wasn’t sure why he would.
This is probably how Shige and Konno’s fans felt when Tsunku released Namida ga Tomaranai Houkago in 2004. Although, let’s be fair, the group was in a much different place back then and the song wasn’t as good as this one.
I love Konno, but her voice was very weak.
There is nothing weak about BOSS and Zukki.
*no caption needed*
Where is Ace in this? Well, she doesn’t sing. At all.
Instead they’ve put Ace, Fuku-hime, Ayumin, and Eri-pon into the dance group. Don’t worry, Ace still knows how to catch the eye and gets plenty of the close-ups that so frustrate me when they should be focusing on the friggin’ dance…
But I’m glad that Ace got moved. First of all, as much as I love her, we hear enough of her. Second, and maybe most importantly, this forces her to stand out in a different way. She can’t just be in the center and do what she usually does; she has to share the spotlight with the other three and she has to find a way to stand-out in all the hair-flippin’, skirt-spinning drama.
Honestly, there is so much hair in the dance-shots that even I was raising an eyebrow (isilie loves hair-flippy moments, remember).
Hell yeah, sexy drama time! Then wait-
ACE! YOUR HAIR IS ALIIIIIVE!!!
Ace is actually quite aggressive…
A: “Hello there, Eri-pon. GRAB MY LEG!!”
Ayumin: “Riida, if it’s cool, I’m just gonna um, do the move, ya know-?”
The dance is very fast, with lots of spinning and big movements. I didn’t notice until I capped that they don’t really dance in sync for most of it, but that’s not a distracting thing. In fact it makes sense since it’s usually just Ace and Ayumin. I know we’ve had Oda in there too and Fuku-hime is getting more dance solos lately, but this particular group has an interesting dynamic. That’s one of the best parts of this pv: seeing the interesting dynamics that occur when you mix up members, or get them to do things they don’t usually do.
Fukuhime is her sultry self, but I confess I didn’t watch her as much as the others. All I can really say is that she has wonderful expressions and she feels more and more like Momusu’s mom even when she’s being dramatic. Ace knows what she’s doing right down to that dreamy smirk whenever she’s in the middle of a move. Ayumin can’t hide her enjoyment when she dances, no matter how aggressive things get, which is one of my favourite things about her. Eri-pon, despite not being used to being featured as a dancer, takes to her chance with gusto and tries desperately to keep up.
Having Eri-pon in the dance was another surprise. I love that she’s getting a chance to be featured here and she takes to it with her usual bewildering mix of determination and anxiety.
E: “Wait, hold on. *huff, huff* I got this. Just don’t worry, everybody…”
That is honestly one of the only close-up shots of her. She looks so stiff some times that she seems almost pissed off. However, in all her stiffness there’s a definite athleticism that is missing in the other three. I’m loving the new ambitious, gymnast, bully character she’s taken on.
Now that her ambition is more than just a cute catch-phrase, that gap of being so ambitious, yet so insecure is very interesting to me. The Eri-pon wince is something I’m sure everyone has noticed. She’ll pose and look cool, then wince like she’s not sure she just pulled that off. Then she’ll turn around and gaze at her fellow members, who might be laughing and being silly or just simply talking, with an almost Fujimoto Miki level of distain. She can’t always hide what she’s feeling.
I don’t think this makes her unlikeable though, the same way Fujimoto was never quite “mean” enough to warrant bad feelings (at least from me). There’s vulnerability in Ikuta that makes me want to support her. Whenever I see that wince, I want to yell, “No! You did fine! Don’t worry!!” Her clumsily stepping forward is bringing back the Utaban days where Momusu fought each other for any scrap of air time, no matter how silly. Bring it, Eri-pon! Fight so hard you make the others nervous!
Ayumin seems so genuinely delighted by every move.
Hell yeah, sexy drama time!
And Ayumin loooooved it.
A: “I feel kinda violated.”
Ayumin: “That was so fun!!”
Honestly, it’s like each day is a new discovery for this one. I know there’s the Daishi-feeling (I experienced it first-hand), but when I see her here, it just makes me feel like she’s really good-natured. Niigaki used to get like this too. She had great expression, but it took a back seat to her joy at performing.
And let’s not forget that all that spinning and jumping means:
Safety pants flashing!
There were so many shots of the safety-pants-flash I couldn’t even include them all. It makes you feel like a sukebe (dirty old perve).
Did I mention the levitation? Ayumin looks completely amazing.
Apparently Fuku-hime and Ace use their heads for propulsion. Ayumin and Eri-pon didn’t think of that.
Eri-pon shouldn’t be allowed to do this. Ayumin I’m not so worried about. That side of the dance seems a lot more friendly.
Woa. I stand corrected. Ayumin’s gettin’ a little close there!
This isn’t a status-quo pv, remember. We’re used to seeing Ace and Ayumin in the front but we’re not used to these four. It’s something new, even if just for the presence of Eri-pon, and that’s awesome.
Let’s not forget our fearless new four, two of whom I kept confusing during this pv.
The lovely Haga Akane, who got a speaking line in this pv (another non-status quo thing they’ve included in this), along with her generation mate, Ogata Haruna. I kept confusing her with Nonaka Miki because I never notice her at all. It was nice to see her do something and I think she handles it well.
I always find Ogata a little awkward, so I was impressed with her delivery.
I don’t know what it is with her. She’s just an odd duck that used her moment well.
She’s honestly the cutest. I’ve read that she’s the one being promoted the most, but I’ve seen a lot more of Nonaka Miki than Miss Maria.
I need to mention Miss Derp for a moment.
I: “To shine like a diamond, I have to punch you. For calling me derp.”
Well I couldn’t call you Derp in this pv, Miss Iikubo. She’s quite elegant, reigning in her all-limbs-all-the-time stuff for moves like this.
Don’t worry though. She’s given the derp job to Nonaka.
She doesn’t seem that concerned.
There were so many shots of her derpy smile that I couldn’t help laughing. I mean, look at this. It’s adorable, but tell me it’s not derp-tacular. I won’t believe you.
Don’t worry. She’s just as pretty as the rest of them.
Masaki-kins is always a dream to cap. I’m loving her presence and how she gets away with being mature, yet still childlike as ever.
Smug, but still adorable.
Yes Oda. I thought this was Kimagure Princess for a moment…but you’re beautiful, so it doesn’t matter.
O: “I know, but can we move on?”
M: “You’re making them mad.”
I want to talk about how deep Oda’s voice is during this song-
M: “Seriously, Zukki’s really mad.”
Ok, ok. Let’s get to the meat of this post, which is the two leads, or centers, whatever you want to call it.
On the left you have the safe option: everybody is girl-crushing on BOSS on a level we haven’t seen since the lovely days of Yossy and she’s definitely cute enough to have tons of fans. Western fans tend to love her morning-little-brother character and that deep husky voice. I personally love how no-nonsense she can get, especially with Masaki-kins.
Then you have the Zuk.
Does she look a little different to you? I mean aside from the fact that she’s not in an unflattering paper-bag and she’s ACTUALLY THERE THIS TIME.
Our beloved Zukki has managed to lose enough weight that there have been actual news reports about it. It continues to baffle and anger me that all they can ever talk about is her weight, but I assume that’s her destiny for a least a few more years.
I’m happy for her, of course. And proud of her for sticking to it, because despite what smug bastards think, losing weight is not always easy. I love her view though in this blog post: “Since I started dieting、my feelings of gratitude towards food have grown many times over。I have to eat a balanced diet in order to exercise, or my body won’t move。I feel it’s really dangerous to diet by only cutting calories and eating less, so I LOVE food today too 。Even though I’ve come to love eating even more than I did before、I can control how much I eat. It’s so strange。” (Blog Project)
From her blog entries, it seems she’s not just learning to control how much she eats, but also exercising in addition to all the dancing she does to begin with. It doesn’t sound like she’s being pressured from on high. In fact, even when she was at her heaviest, she just seemed to roll with the pocchari thing, because at least it gave her some exposure. Bro read somewhere that she was disappointed she didn’t get a role in the Triangle musical and so resolved to diet. I hope it wasn’t only that and maybe some leftover motivation from New York. She should remember there are fans who love her regardless.
Frankly, the whole idols-gaining-weight thing is one big, tired mess for me. I read a comment the other day that now Riho is getting fat and it just makes me feel so very tired.
They’re teenagers and they’re both gorgeous. Here’s an idea: let them grow up and get the hell over it.
Take note ladies and gents, cause it’s our new pocchari character. Apparently THIS equals fat now. Geez, what a moo-cow.
*facepalm* I don’t understand people’s standards anymore.
Anyway, I don’t think they gave Zukki a center position to apologize for being dicks and leaving her out of the last two pvs. If this is due to the weight-loss, it’s likely they just want to capitalize on potential new fans now that the shade’s been pulled back and we can all see how gorgeous she is. I feel like jumping up on a rooftop and yelling, “See!? I TOLD you!! She’s so pretty!!! LOOK!!”
The weight never stopped her from showing us she’s bad-ass btw.
An example. I hope her exercise involves more of those low-kicks because they are awesome.
A less cynical theory is that Zukki’s determination and then success made Tsunku notice and want to reward her. Whatever it is, I hope that it shows everybody what the fans already know.
She’s taking this opportunity because she’s fabulous.
(gif from chellaufait on tumblr)
This chance has either ignited her confidence or we’re just finally able to see a bit of what she’s capable of. Zukki’s taken to the Takahashi-face-touch and can’t manage the Nacchi-face that BOSS favours. She does have an impressive pout and a delighted smirk to make up for that though.
Vocals wise, her voice is as good as it always is. I think she sounded better live, oddly enough, but given more play she’ll develop more control. During one of her birthday events, she belted out one of Matsuura Aya’s most vocally challenging idol-tunes, Goodbye Natsuo. It was a bold choice and although she doesn’t have the polish or drama of say, Takahashi, she never misses a note. That’s pretty damn impressive. Her voice is deeper in tone, but not quite as deep as BOSS. It blends very well.
BOSS is living up to my nickname in freakin’ spades. When she isn’t Nacchi-facing, she looks downright pissed off.
Nacchi-face. Ouch, my heart.
B: “What are you, stupid? You’re giving up?”
B: “You know, that really grinds my gears.”
B: “But shhhh, it’s ok. I’ll protect you.”
B: “Wait, you’re still GIVING UP!?”
She can’t believe you. You absolute bastard.
B: “I’m done! Leave my sight!”
Every frame of BOSS feels super-charged. She’s aggressive and beautiful.
I think Haru-kins has really come into her own as a performer because of the plays. I haven’t seen Triangle, so Lilium is my only example. It was a stunning show in many ways, but her portrayal of False is mesmerizing. Her voice is deep, of course, but there’s sweetness there too. She had arguably the hardest role, but she nailed it. Finally she gets to show off in a single.
She spends a lot of time looking surprised too, for some reason. It’s like even she can’t believe they’re here. Then she catches herself and the attitude comes on back.
BOSS somehow matches well with Zukki, even though I’d never have paired them together. She’s strutting up and down like the BOSS she is in this pv and I love every minute of it.
*no caption needed*
(gif from renairiders on tumblr)
I love both of these girls but in quite different ways and for different reasons. I’ve seen them both up close and Zukki was just as sweet and cheery as she seems to be. On stage, she’s confident and her smile lights up the room.
On the other hand, BOSS was thoroughly intimidating in person, while onstage she’d seemed very sweet. She struck me as unflappable and strong, even though she’s so tiny in stature. The pairing works vocally and their combined but vastly different aggression is interesting to watch.
We’ve been conditioned by the Platinum Generation to expect a couple aces to sing and then maybe a syllable for everyone else. Now is a great time to shake that up. I feel like they’ve earned the opportunity to shine here. BOSS is very diligent and talented and Zukki, while talented herself, doesn’t get any credit because nobody can see past her weight.
B: “That was such a bore.”
Z: “Don’t worry. We took care of the people responsible.”
BOSS: Don’t piss her off, or she’s done with you.
(gif from chellaufait on tumblr)
Doesn’t it look like she’s yelling, “Go, BITCH!” in this gif?
(gif from marigoespyon on tumblr)
This song sounded oddly like a b-side when I first heard it, but I couldn’t tell you if that’s because of the song itself or because we have the decidedly non-A-side treat of people other than Ace singing more than two syllables. I love the middle of the song, but the chorus isn’t my favourite.
Although it is redeemed by the crazy jumps.
Egg-layin’ in the air!
I must say, it’s a refreshing start to what is a stellar triple A-side. I love all three so far, but I never expected this as a beginning.
Even if this is a one-shot deal, despite all their efforts, I think they’ve made the most of it. The whole group is frantic in this pv, performing with a fierceness I don’t think I’ve seen yet this year. Maybe my perspective is just messed up because, as I’ve said, we’ve been conditioned that this is risky.
Well, despite a less-than-imaginative pv, I got a couple of interesting new dynamics in the groupings and a song that seems strong in every sense of that word.
Or maybe that’s just the aggressiveness of BOSS and Eri-pon.
Don’t count Ace out though.
B: “Whatever, bitches.”
If you dislike this because of the predominance of Zukki and BOSS, I have no sympathy for you at all.
Not after the Winky years. Years and years of that winky squirrel and you’re complaining about one third of a single?
This might never happen again. Just let me have this one, ok?