This Week’s Hello! Morning: Lesbian Love Triangles, Mystery Dates, Where Is Kago, Yuko-chan’s Charm… and Gets!

Filed in Cult of Pop 1.0

Finally got to watch yesterday’s Hello! Morning. This is the 250th episode, something of a landmark, but apparently the 50-mark doesn’t matter and we’ll have to wait for episode 300 in a year for a big celebration.

Anyway, some observations… Oh, and I’ve decided to no longer give the full names of the H!P girls. Sink or swim, it’s a Musume World and we just live in it.

Viyuden’s live performance of “Kaccho Ii Ze! Japan” from last week was mixed together with the PV. While I didn’t like Viyuden’s first single, I like this one a great deal and I’m loving Erika Miyoshi more and more. I can’t help feeling that she should be in Morning Musume, though I guess that’s not going to happen at this point. I also thought about how Rika’s days in Morning Musume are numbered, with her graduation in a few months. Viyuden proves she’s about due, she’s grown enough and needs to move forward with her new unit.

“Kaccho Ii Ze! Japan” is being used by the Japanese tourism board. And while the song will work wonderfully for that purpose, I wonder what the tourism folks think of the PV, which features a lesbian love triangle: Erika and Rika are happy together, Yui wants Rika’s attention but is snubbed by her. It could just be about friendship, and all the rubbing-up against each other and Yui clutching to Rika’s leg is just how Japanese girls are with their friends. But given the ultra-sexy PV for Melon Kinebi’s most recent single – with a good deal of implied nudity and a lot of crotch-thrusting – the lesbian subtext isn’t a far leap. (As someone pointed out online, this isn’t even the first lesbian trio subtext in a Hello! Project video. Gomatto’s “Shall We Love” can be viewed as two lesbians – Mikitty and Ayaya, who’re actually the best of friends – convince Gocchin to give up her guy and join them instead.)

The majority of the episode was devoted to a dating game with three mystery men that 14 of the Musumes and ex-Musumes had to choose from. (Yuko was the host for this game; Mari, Kago, and Mikitty were apparently on a date of their own at that time. Kago’s absence was the only one I immediately noticed and was upset by.) The only man I recognized was the Gets guy – he’s a comedian who dresses in day-glo colored suits and yells “Gets!” while pointing with both hands. In the end, the only person to vote for the Gets guy was Konno. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but I’m sure it’s significant.

The Musumes on dates has been running a week or two now. So far, all the dates are group – one man, three girls – and the men were all old enough to be most of the Musumes’ fathers. (Yuko being the notable exception, of course.) On the one hand, it makes sense because there’s no sense that these dates are romantic and the innocence is preserved… On the other hand, I’m sure there are many older men such as myself who wish they were the mystery date. And that there was a potential for romance… And that it remained three girls…

But what the heck.

Then there was a short Bus Stop skit, which was fun. Reina and Takitty in blonde wigs terrorized Mikitty in large glasses. Rika is thrown to the ground and admonished – something which goes all the way back to the first Bus Stop skit, if memory serves right. Makoto and Yossi, dressed up as dignified matrons, do the Matsuken Samba – and can barely keep from laughing.

Ah, Matsuken Samba…

A new regular feature is Eric Kamezou, H!P product salesman. The replacement for the H!P News, it features Yuko and a couple of other girls – this week, Mari and Tsuji – listening as Eri plays the salesman who shills the latest H!P offerings (this week, the Johnson graduation DVD and souvenir photobooks). Eri cut her hair right before this regular feature premiered, and she does a really great job with this role. It’s the first time I really gave a damn about her, admittedly, and it made me realize how much she’s grown. The signature move of this segment is Eri(c) dancing wildly with a pair of maracas, though lately she’s been sharing it with one of the other girls (this week, Mari).

To cap things off, there’s some footage of Kago and Tsuji rehearsing for their upcoming musical and a preview of the mystery date that Kago, Mari, and Mikitty were on.

After swooning over Kago-chan for so long, I now remember why I also love Yuko. I’m not sure why she and Nacchi have both decided to wear pigtails for the past couple episodes, but she’s by far the best Hello! Morning host of all time. I think what makes her so distinctive in H!P is that she has a certain older-sister disdain for the silliness that Hello! Project so often indulges in… Even when she indulges in the silliness herself, it’s in a patient, good-natured manner. Not that she sees herself as perfect – one of Yuko’s comedic gifts is the way she plays with her vanity, only to have it effectively deflated by one of her foils (usually, one of her H!P News co-anchors).

That said, I expect a whole lot of Kago goodness next week. It’s only fair.