Hello! Morning 251: The Faghagging of Momusu, A Heart Like A Ferret, Food Envy, and Loving the 6th Gen

Filed in Cult of Pop 1.0

As promised last week, this week’s Hello! Morning featured a date for Mari, Aibon, and Mikitty. The mystery date turned out to be a very effeminate actor – effeminate enough so that one may assume he at least leans towards homosexuality. He practically pranced up to the girls at the start of the date. The setting was an amusement park, with the girls drawing straws time and again to see who would be with the date at each part and who would go with the other girl. The kiddie ride and mini-coaster had Aibon with the date; at one point, it was shown that Mikitty and Mari, shrieking on the kiddie ride, were 20 and 22, respectively.

Then the quartet went into a haunted house in pairs, with the girls hooked up on machines that measured their heart rates. Aibon and Mikitty went first, screaming their heads off at every “kowaii” effect. Aibon’s heartrate went as high as 160, Mikitty’s wasn’t nearly that. Then it was Mari and the date, and Mari just about lost her shit, apparently, and hit a heartrate of 216. By the end she had to be carried out by the date, who let her ride piggyback as they exited the haunted house. You’d have thought she’d seen Cthulhu.

While each pair were in the haunted house, the other pair listened in. Aibon – and oh, I love her for this – took it a step further by banging on the door and the walls to increase the fright factor for Mari. Of course, it’s all fun and games until the 2nd gen member has a fatal heart attack…

Then dinner at what is apparently considered an “American style” rib joint. It looked like a franchise sports bar and the ribs served were $40 a rack (only one rack was ordered, given Japanese appetites). The date gave the girls gifts of umbrellas, as it was a rainy day. Then, over desserts of banana splits, the date stopped the girls and instructed them on how to be cute while they ate dessert. Oy.

At this point, it was just so clear that the three girls were being intiiated into the joys of being a fag-hag. Lessons on being cute on a date from this guy is like having Rupert Everett teaching you to walk in heels. That said, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for the girls to have what was once considered the ultimate single girl’s accessory (i.e., a gay male best friend). A bit of Queer Eye for the H!P girl would certainly stir things up in an interesting way and maybe make the girls queer icons themselves!

Back in the studio, there was a contest involving ice cream sundaes where the rest of the girls had to choose whether Mari’s sky-high heart rate in the haunted house was equivalent to a ferret’s or a parrot’s heart rate. The girls who chose the ferret were correct, they had their reward and some – most notably Rika – teased the have-nots. Several girls who did get the sundaes were asked to do their versions of the cute dessert line, with Yossi providing the most memorably bad one.

Have I ever mentioned how much I love watching the girls enjoying food rewards? There’s a lustful desire to it that’s not quite Survivor but certainly has a clear yearning reminiscent of the reality show. One would imagine that the girls are being starved to death and they’re only allowed to enjoy such yummies when it’s for the sake of the camera. Reina and Makoto were particularly distraught at losing out, though Tsuji showed relative restraint after the initial disappointment.

Back at the date, another amusement ride and another lesson by the date on being attractive (I think)… Then a visit to a massage parlor, with Mari getting decent treatment, then Aibon and Mikitty suffering a painful foot massage. From there the date wound down and good-byes were said, with a thank-you letter read by the girls afterward. The actor then had a chance to talk, apparently asking Yuko for a date of their own. How convincing that sounded, I have no idea.

Finally, back in the studio again, a wonderful gift from the actor arrived. Kei came in with the box, Aibon was afraid it was something with a nasty surprise (being la belle dame sans merci, she knows the value of paranoia), but it turned out to be beautiful sketches of each of the three girls. That was a very nice touch – the guy was a good sport, as have all the dates so far, but he showed both a wicked side (making the girls shriek for different reasons time and again) as well as very thoughtful side, with the gifts and advice.

So what’s worse – putting the girls on a date with someone old enough to be their fathers, or gay enough to get beaten up by Yossi? Call me silly, but wouldn’t it be nice if the girls were able to date people who could be potential romances? Or at least were dreamy men like Gackt and… um, Gackt? (I’m not sure if the Gets guy would have been a step up or down from this week’s date – though I guess it’d be a step down, as they’d probably feel less comfortable grabbing onto the Gets guy if they were scared.) I know dating viable men would probably alienate the fans who want their H!P girls to be innocent and single and virginal – and thus, still clearly available in their otaku imaginations. But hell, I could deal with, say, Aibon having her own real-life snugglebunny and still have my otaku imagination run where it may.

But that’s just me.

This date segment was the main thread throughout the episode, but there were some other segments.

There was the Bus Stop characters in the Chinese restaurant, which was a lot of silliness with no real point. The strangest part was seeing Reina in a panda outfit, her face peeking out as if she was drowning in the outfit, kind of like Gomaki Penguin. Second strangest was Kei as a bearded old martial arts master, funny enough to make both Mari and Mikitty laugh out of character. (Or maybe their amusement park date just made them more flamboyant, as well…)

There was the latest news on the 2005 auditions, with shots of the 5th gen and 6th gen auditions and their respective winners. I’ll reserve comment until the actual finalists are declared.

And finally, Yuko and Eri did their H!P shilling segment, but Eric Kamezou has given way to a French maid – played by Eri, of course. The extra H!P girls this time were Reina and Iida, with Iida forced to do a Eurobeat kind of dance with the Eri character. Iida is as clumsy as ever, though she seems to be a better sport now that she’s not forced to do such stupid things as often. Reina – one of my favorite H!P girls – raised her arm at one point and again reminded me of just how frighteningly skinny she is. That said, it was nice to see her banter with Yuko and the two tease each other. This segment had a nice symmetry, actually, with two 1st gen and two 6th gen girls… Something that wouldn’t have happened if the show remained current-Momusu-exclusive.

Next week, Melon Kinenbi’s Megumi is apparently included in the festivities, which again involve food and a contest. And dammit, all the Melons should be there, as well as the Country Musumes and Ayaka and Yuki Maeda and Matsuura Aya! Hello! Morning should be as inclusive as possible.

Some final comments on this much-too-otaku entry…

First, Kago looked incredible on the date – more mature than her usual stage self, and she wore it well. It’d be great to see if that could translate to her and Tsuji’s work on W. Though really, I find W most compelling as a slightly (but only slightly) more mature heir to the zaniness of Minimoni.

Second, Mikitty is finally starting to win me over. I didn’t really like her at first – but then, I didn’t like any of the sixth gen. Which is funny, since I came into the Momusu thing well after they established themselves, but it took much longer for them to make a dent in my consciousness. I became a Reina fan (enough so that she’s my favorite in the current line-up) with the Futarigoto episode where she imitated Aibon singing “Koi wo Shichaimishita”. (It also made me appreciate Tanpopo more, by the way.) And Eri’s Eric Kamezou bits has warmed me to her.

Now it’s Mikitty, who started out as a soloist only to join Momusu with the 6th gen girls… One gets the sense that she joined Momusu under duress – who’d want to go from soloist to a group, after all? – and it always annoyed me that she sat alone in the pajama party part of the “Ai Arraba It’s Alright” PV. It may just be me – okay, it probably is me – but she seems more relaxed in recent months, with the group winnowing down and her becoming a more central figure. And it’s often stuck in my head that Utaban’s Ishabashi thinks she’s cute… and she is very attractive, there’s no denying that, she probably has one of the nicest smiles in H!P…

So that’s three out of four. Will I ever warm up to Michishige? Give it time, I guess.