Morning Musume ’14 announces 12th gen auditions…again

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In mildly shocking turn of events Morning Musume ’14 has announced that they will be holding auditions for their 12th generation yet again, dubbed the the Golden Audition. The age requirements are the same standard H!P ones, girls ages 10-17.  The audition deadline is May 11th, and much like the past 3 Momusu auditions Kenshuusei are allowed to participate. Here’s a link to the audition website. It’s also been announced that the possible winners will take lessons in the meantime, but won’t formally debut until 2015.

Now, getting all of the standard news out of the way I can just jump right into my opinions on the matter. First things first, I said this announcement was mildly shocking, because that’s exactly what it is. It’s shocking because despite everyone knowing the 12th gen was going to be announced at some point there was no way to know when that was unless you worked in H!P. And since there’s never been an elusive mole in H!P leaking information to the public, each piece of news that does come out is shocking. Come to think of it I’m actually a little surprised there’s never been a mole to be completely honest. Wota seem aggressive enough for that to have happened. But I digress.

The auditions are obviously incredibly exciting. I’ve been patiently waiting for the 12th gen to be announced again since it was announced the first 12th gen yielded no winners. I never really talked much about that on my blog because it was during my hiatus, but believe me I was really angry about it. I wasn’t around for the infamous Lucky 7 audition, so I was used to winners being announced and I never thought they’d actually repeat that fiasco. But sure enough they did to mine and everyone else’s dismay. I was even more upset because I live for auditions and I was so pumped for the 12th gen. I streamed the episode of Hello!Satoyama Life that showed the first footage of the audition, which was just  a 10 second glimpse of the auditions. And I even picked a girl I wanted to win in that short amount of time, who happened to be Yamaki Risa. Who I only discovered was her when they shoved all of the 12th gen finalist into the Kenshuusei.

I think it’s also pretty safe to say that this is probably it for Sayumi. I wouldn’t be surprised if she announced her graduation in the next few months. H!P graduations anymore are announced a year in advance. So, I see Sayu announcing she’ll leave around April or May, giving her until April or May of 2015 as a member. Since the 12th gen isn’t going to debut until 2015, that gives Sayu the time to teach the girls a little something something before leaving. Maybe even release a single or two. It would also mean that the 12th gen’s first Morning Musume concert tour would be Sayumi’s graduation tour. Just like 10th gen’s first Morning Musume concert tour was Risa’s and Aika’s graduation tour. While this is just my personal feeling/opinion, I think we can all admit that it seems about right as to what’s going to happen. Sayumi will be 25 this year, and 26 in 2015. It’s obviously her time soon.

I have to admit I’m not really 100% for the whole 12th gen taking lessons in the meantime before officially joining. I get that Sakura did basically the same thing, but it couldn’t be helped in her situation since she was added in the beginning of Morning Musume’s Fall tour. But let’s be real, it’s not like Sakura really needed extra lessons. I just don’t like the idea of having normal girls who are shaky at singing and dancing during the auditions join, only to to not see them for months, and all of a sudden they are polished performers. That takes all of the fun out of auditions in the first place. I want to watch my idols grow in real time. I want to have that motherly feeling of watching over them and seeing how much they’ve improved. If they’re going to train them before they debut why hold auditions at all? Why not just directly add the Kenshuusei into the group?

And I think this ties more into how Morning Musume ’14 as a group has been promoted lately. Ever since Sakura has joined they prided themselves as being a polished idol group. The whole ima no Morning Musume campaign is all about them being the best Morning Musume of all time. To be the best at singing and at dancing, and to be at such a high level that you see them as a separate entity instead of comparing them to the past. And that’s great, no, really it is. I get wanting to be at the top again, I do. But I don’t like that they are so worried about them being at such a high level that they are training the members before they even officially join.

To be perfectly honest I think that’s the main reason they canceled the first 12th auditions to begin with. I think the finalists were probably wonderful girls, but because they weren’t at a high enough level, or perhaps needed time to nurture their abilities, they weren’t added. They were so worried about them being at a high polished level to compete with the current members, that none of the auditionees compared to them and were cut loose. The fact that they immediately joined the Kenshuusei speaks volumes. And I would not be surprised at all if those girls auditioned again.

You can tell that Momusu really is on the attack and is really fighting to regain their former glory. I mean the auditions are called the Golden Audition. If that’s not saying they want to find a girl, or girls, to help them reach a second Golden Era I don’t know what will. It’s not like they’re shy about saying they want another Golden Era anyway.

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What I am looking forward to during these auditions is for more Kenshuusei to be added. Momusu has added 1 Kenshuusei per generation to the group since LinLin joined. So, it’s not like this is a far-fetched idea. And come on, there are way too many Kenshuusei that are too good to be passed up. Personally I’m hoping for either Tanabe Nanami, Ogawa Rena, Murota Mizuki, Hamaura Ayano, Yamaki Risa, Kaga Kaede, or Sasaki Rikako to be added. Since I’m rooting for so many, I think that betters my chances a little.

While this auditions isn’t exactly everything I’ve hoped for, they are still auditions none the less, and I could not be happier. I so want fresh blood in Morning Musume and H!P as a whole. And with the second 12th gen auditions mixed with the Country Musume auditions, H!P is giving me just that. It’s a truly exciting time in H!P to have two separate auditions again. I feel like I’m back in 2011 with the Morning Musume 10th gen auditions and S/mileage 2nd gen auditions happening at the same time. Let’s just hope I have better luck of my favorite members joining the group. As we all know Karin did not join S/mileage and Sara did not join Morning Musume.

Morning Musume ’14, what is this PV?

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I think it’s about time that I stopped avoiding this and finally faced it headfirst. I of course mean Morning Musume ’14’s PV for What Is Love. If you can call it that that is. It’s their 2nd PV from their upcoming triple A-side single Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa/Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai/What Is Love. Though if you ask me it should have stayed a double A-side and What is Love should have just been a B-side.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love What is Love. I didn’t love it initially, but after a few listens it became one of those songs I couldn’t get enough. And I actually started to get angry that the song had been out for a while and there was no conformation about it being a new single. Tsunku did say that it may become a single. But whenever Tsunku is vague about things it usually means they are going to happen. Just like when he blogged about thinking about starting Mini Moni again and boom Shin Mini Moni and the other revamped units were formed. And I’m sure he’s done this many times since.

Though after watching the PV for What is Love I almost regret wanting it to be an A-side. While I do appreciate there being a studio recorded version of the song I’m not so sure I appreciate the PV. But I honestly should have seen it coming. Literally the day before the PV came out I was talking to Kiana about the covers for the single and I asked her something along the lines of, “They are only wearing 2 outfits on the covers, so what outfits are they going to use for the What is Love PV?” We both came to the conclusion that we had no idea but hoped they didn’t pull another One Two Three/The Matenrou Show fiasco and use one of the outfits twice.

And to our horror the PV turned out to be worse than we had feared. Instead of a proper PV, or even an extremely cheap PV that is just a dance shot, we were given one of the least creative and worse PVs know to man. The concert footage video. Now, I’m sure everyone is familiar with this type of PV. But in the US artists only have videos like this when they are either extremely busy or have no idea what to do for a video but still want a new single. And I gotta tell you, they are usually more interesting. In the US it’s usually concert footage mixed with behind the scenes footage and sometimes they’re not completely awful because you see the artist being natural and having fun. Why weren’t we given that? I mean, H!P films all of that stuff anyway for DVD Magazines anyway. I would seriously love to see the girls getting ready for a concert as well. Or something like driving to the venue, eating food, messing around back stage, or practicing their choreography. Even doing their hair and make-up would be more interesting than this!

I really think it’s time to stop blogging and start the career I was destined to have: H!P music video director. I mean seriously, I could do a way better job than whoever is in charge now. This PV is literally nothing more than the girls dancing to the song at a concert. Now where have I seen the exact same thing before? Oh that’s right, that’s exactly what the J-MELO performance of the song was. Except in this they are wearing different outfits and are actually on a concert stage. I’m sorry there is just nothing interesting about this PV. I’m not Chii, different camera angles don’t do anything for me.

Remember the last time Momusu had a live PV? That’s right it was Chokkan 2. Remember what that PV was like? That’s right, it was a mix of live performances. A mix! And they had to make the PV quickly. Remember because Chokkan 2 was supposed to be the B-side, but everyone hated Koi wa Hassou so much that Chokkan 2 became the A-side? Which means they only had days to put this PV together. Which is why it’s fine that it had live footage. But the worst part is, Momusu didn’t have to put the What is Love PV together in a short amount of time, so there’s really no reason for how the PV is. I mean, Chokkan 2 was put together quickly and we still have a PV with close-up shots. And it has 2 different horrible CG backgrounds. And the concert footage they used was from the entire concert! Not just the performance of the song!

I don’t know, maybe there are people out there who are ok with having concert footage as a PV. I, however, am not one of them.

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I have to laugh that font is prettier than the entire PV.

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Look at all the fans though.

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I never really liked these outfits.

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Momusu’s formation dances are the best.

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Oh look another view of the fans. There’s so much going on in this PV I can’t take it.

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Harunan does look cute in this hat I must admit.

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Maa-chan’s hat is a good reminder that it looks like everyone is wearing shiny tennis outfits.

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Riho looks super cute.

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I could do without this part of the dance to be honest.

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Mizuki is super pretty.

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Oh wow now it’s the audience from this angle.

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Look how in sync they are.

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I never noticed before, but they are making a heart.

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There is seriously not enough Zukki in this PV.

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But she still manages to smile. And also, possessed Sakura on the right.

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Haruka is sweating so much her bangs have almost disappeared completely.

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Eripon is only shown for a split moment but she still manages to look gorgeous.

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That Mizuki smile.

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Wink.

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Riho is just incredible at dancing.

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I love how it looks like Haruka is photobombing Sayumi.

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What an odd ending pose.

Did Momusu just release a decent PV for once?

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Recently, to everyone’s great surprise I might add, Morning Musume announced that they would be releasing an unprecedented triple A-side single, Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa/Kimi no Kawari wa Iyashinai/What is Love to be released on January 29th. Ok, unprecedented is probably way too extravagant of a word. But come on, you tell me the last time an idol group released a triple A-side single? Actually don’t tell me, because there most likely is such a time. But whatever, the groups that I follow have never had such an exciting release before. And to make things even more exciting they released the first PV for Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa on yesterday’s episode of Hello!Station. Over a month before the actual release date of the single.

My immediate reaction when I first head that it was going to be a triple A-side was, “Hey we already know What is Love is a great song, if we get 2 other A-side that are just as good we’re in for an amazing single.” Well, obviously H!P didn’t have the same idea because Egao no Kimi wa Taiyou sa is a terrible song. I don’t like the song so much that I can’t see myself ever liking it in the future. The music is just horrible it starts out being dubstep and then has this odd We Will Rock you-esque boom calp which just does not fit with the rest of this song. And at that moment I thought it was just going to be like Renai Hunter that has the dubstep in the beginning and the break down in he middle of the song, but that’s it. The rest of the song is just normal dance music.

But we couldn’t be so lucky with this song. Instead of the dubstep music disappearing from the song it stays there the entire time, but just under the pretty typical idol sounding music it switches to. And they make it just soft enough to not overpower the entire song and just loud enough to be absolutely 1,000% annoying. It just linger there like a constant reminder that we’ll never be fully rid of dubstep from H!P songs for a while.

And the music isn’t the only part I don’t like about the song. During the verses the girls are singing in this way that’s like a constant mixture of singing and rapping, which I don’t like. Even the chorus isn’t catchy enough for my taste. The absolute only redeeming quality of the song is the part where it looks like Zukki actually got a solo line. But I’m still not 100% she’s really just singing alone and not just singing with Sakura but taking the higher melody, so her voice is more noticeable. Either way, for the briefest of moments my beloved Zukki was in the spotlight so I’ll take it.

Awful song aside, I really did enjoy the PV. For some reason it feels fresh and different from their other PVs. It has this expensive flare about it. The PV is also so light and pretty that I just love how it looks.

These were my absolute first impressions of the PV after I watched the PV preview. But once I watched the whole PV I realized that even though the PV is cute and enjoyable, it actually isn’t expensive at all. I realized that it’s just more of H!P fooling us into thinking we’re seeing a better PV without really having to improve the quality. Because if you watch the PV it’s the same as every other PV. But there’s just something about it that makes it seem like it’s expensive. So, buckle your seat belts everyone I’m going to point out how H!P is tricking you into thinking you’re watching a better PV than you actually are.

I think we can all agree that the most obvious reason this PV looks vaguely expensive is because the effects in this PV are actually good. They do look fake but not quite as in your face about it as it usually is. But I think it’s funny  H!P PVs are so cheap lately that this is what constitutes for a high budget. Making the same PV they always do but just having CG that doesn’t look like it cost $5. I do admit that it’s a big improvement. But only an improvement because we’re used to such sub-standard quality in the first place. So, when you think about it, is it really an improvement? Probably not, but it is pretty. And the fact that it’s flashing picture of nature in those colorful lines and shapes is just brilliant in my opinion.

I think the other main reason is what they are wearing. The outfits in this PV look pretty high quality. They’re mature, adult like, and therefore look more expensive. However, if you’ve watched every season of Project Runway like I have, they always say how just the design of a dress can make a cheap fabric read expensive. But that’s not the issue here because every group does that. The reason that these outfits are so wonderful is 1. they kind of look like the amazing outfits they wore on FNS and Mezamashi Live.

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And 2. they are a lot better than some of the outfits we’ve seen form them in the past couple of years.

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So, obviously they look better by comparison.

The last main reason that this PV seems more expensive then it really is, is because they are wearing more than one outfit. Remember that post I made a few years back that listed how directors trick you into think you’re watching a better PV than you actually are? You don’t? Well, it’s a great read so click here to read it if you haven’t before. Ah, the multiple outfits trick has been used since the dawn of time. And it is incredibly effective and that’s why it’s a classic.

All of this may seem that I don’t like the PV, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth I actually love it. I really do. The outfits are incredible and the girls look beyond gorgeous. I’m just saying all this because I was initially impressed with how much more effort they put into the PV, only to go, “wait a minute,” and realize they didn’t actually. I just think it’s funny how PVs can create this illusion that something looks better than it actually does without the viewer even being consciously aware of it. Whether or not I was caught in all this Momusu is being so innovative hoopla because I’m biased or because I was simple caught in the Momusu better PV mirage, remains a mystery.

Either way, it doesn’t really matter. What does matter is that after being a fan of idol groups that make pretty mediocre PVs I’ve learned over the years to just focus on the member themselves. So, anything that happens in the background is gravy. Not to say that I don’t want a better or higher quality PV, I think it’s pretty obvious that I do. I mean seriously, don’t you read my blog? But at the same I’ve also learned to not let a sub-par PV diminish how much I love the song or how much I enjoy seeing my girls looking lovely.

Because if you focus on how bad the PV is you’ll be so caught up in that you won’t even realize all the good parts of the PV. Instead of the PV being about Zukki’s bright natural smile it would forever be know to you as the PV with the bad costumes.

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You bright smile is like sunshine. I think this is reason 5, 652 why H!P should just drop having official English subs on their videos. 

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For a second I thought they were praying.

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Why is the world would they make some member wear pants? With this particular outfit pants just do not work.

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Boom boom clap. Also, why did they give the girls wearing pants different shoes?

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Hello there decent looking CG.

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Look how cool it is that it’s clouds.

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Wow just gorgeous. is it me or does it feel like Ayumi is the more obvious choice for center? She just has that air about her more than Riho does to me.

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Why the bird’s eye view if they aren’t doing a formation dance?

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Can we just talk about how insanely gorgeous these outfits are?

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Omg, every time they jump the shape on the floor changes.

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Suddenly so many Ayumi feelings. But why she’s all the way toward the end of my raking? She just looks so amazing here. She stand out the most.

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Yeah, can they not keep changing the filter colors during the close-up shots?

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I kinda miss the formation dances. It kinda looks like they’re voguing here.

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Sayumi is such a beauty.

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Wow Mizuki looks so mature here.

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I have to laugh at how smug Riho looks here.

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Ayumi just stop that.

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Whoa, Haruka looks like such a boy here.

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What is this The Manpower all of a sudden? Mysterious.

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I just really love this scene.

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Maa-chan is so adorable.

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Sakura looks so mature is her close-ups.

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But I honestly think she looks much prettier here.

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Wink!

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Harunan’s cuteness making me overlook everyone else.

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Zukki’s bright smile!

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Omg Zukki be still my heart.

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I love how they have the two boys wear hats. And look at Maa-chan!

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Well, this is a lame dance move.

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Ok, Riho looks pretty cute here.

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Wow, this is really pretty.

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Eripon looks so pretty.

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MaaDuu for 2 seconds.

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Cause of death: Zukki smiling again in a PV.

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Even right here, no one can compare to Zukki.

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I think Mizuki looks the cutest with this hairstyle.

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Adorable.

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Whenever Ayumi smiles she looks like a shark.

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My baby.

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Too cute.

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Ayumi’s face.

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Who’s the center of Momusu again? I can’t quite remember.

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Oh come on, this is a bit much!

Tsunku makes a terrible decision, just another day in H!P

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There are some things in life that come along that are such a shock you simply cannot comprehend what has actually happened. Something so tragic you are knocked backwards in disbelief. Something so inconceivable you’re at loss for words. You rub your eyes but it’s still there, you shake your head but there’s no stopping it. There’s no escaping it anymore. You run from it but it catches up to you. It’s useless to fight it now, Morning Musume has decided to change their name

In, what were they possibly thinking news, Morning Musume has in fact decided to change their name. Come January 1st the Morning Musume you know and love will now become Morning Musume ’14. But don’t worry it gets worse from there. Not only are they changing their name now they are going to change their name every. single. year. So come January 1, 2015 they will be Morning Musume ’15 and so forth. Just awe inspiring I tell you.

With such a genius idea surely there’s some genius level thinking behind it.  The logic is as follows: Tsunku doesn’t think your memory is good enough to actually keep up with the group that you’re following. He knows how rough it must be to actually remember which girl was in which generation or what era a single came out. So, he’s making it easier for you by doing the smart thing and renaming the group entirely to reflect this. Remember he’s doing this for you.

Gosh now I’ll never forget that Love Machine was released in 1999. Oh wait that’s not right at all. But that’s impossible, it’s almost as if changing the group name to Morning Musume ’14 won’t tell me when past singles were released at all. And that changing the group name isn’t going to actually do the main thing it’s supposed to do. Because it’s not like he’s stating that all past eras are now being changed to Morning Musume ’02, etc. That would obviously be impossible to do. And if that is impossible now why change the name at all?

I mean to me it seems like one gigantic publicity stunt to really capitalize on the Ima no Morning Musume marketing campaign. He said himself that if it becomes too confusing he’ll just give up. It seems that H!P wants to really separate the present Morning Musume even further from the past one. And I get it, I totally do. The majority of Japanese people know nothing about the present Morning Musume and only know the Morning Musume of the past that was actually relevant. But just because they are separating themselves from the past to became a brand new entity doesn’t necessarily mean people will suddenly know who they are now. It actually doesn’t mean that at all. People aren’t going to know who the present members are until they are popular and relevant enough to know of them. Simple as that. Just like the general public didn’t know the past members so easily. It’ll take another Love Machine moment for the current members to be known.

And I wholeheartedly believe that once Morning Musume achieves their second wind they are going to bring up the past so quickly. Mark my words. And they’d honestly be foolish not to. I can see them now saying things like, Morning Musume has regained their former glory. Or they have become national idols again. Or something like Morning Musume is picking up where they left off so many years ago.

The Ima no Morning Musume campaign is sweet and cute for now. It gets the point across, “Hey even if you’re stuck in the past just give the current era a chance. You might like what you see.” But that kind of marketing only works because they are irrelevant. If they were actually popular it would seem almost disrespectful to discard the past so easily. They would just be this bratty group that’s only in it to be famous and doesn’t care about the members in the past that worked so hard to get them to the level they are at now. The group that built up the name in the fist place. That they don’t appreciate that effort at all. Oh wait never mind, that’s no different than the Ima no Morning Musume campaign. Do I sound too bitter about it?

I have to admit I usually am 100% behind whatever Tsunku does. Well, the things that he is actually in control of. Such as lyrics, music direction, and auditions. (I firmly believe he has a majority say in which girls get added) I usually get where’s he’s going when he adds a girl I would have never chosen, or writes a song that seems like it wouldn’t work. But this is one derision I can’t 100% get behind. Assuming the decision was even up to him. But for the sake of this argument let’s say it was. If we didn’t have to blindly put our faith in him and the agency I’d say he was losing his touch. But it is pretty silly to give on stupid decision that much credit when you think about it.

The only good news that came out of this was at the same time he announced Morning Musume’s 55th single. The single is currently untitled and will be released on January 29th. It’s up in the air now whether What Is Love is going to be included or is going to be an A-side. It’s a great song and I’m really looking forward to a proper recorded version of the song. So, I’d honestly settle for t being just a B-side. But people have been saying a PV for What Is Love has been played during their Chance concert tour. So, it’s starting to look like it might become an A-side after all. But it’s obviously too early to tell.

I think I speak for the entire fandom though when I say it’s about time. Morning Musume has not released a single since August. Now, that doesn’t seem long for a single for a normal group but when H!P usually released singles every 3-4 months 5 months feels like an eternity. But then again maybe that’s just me.