It’s Chokkan 2 (Close-Up) Week!

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

Wow. How did this happen? At some point this Thanksgiving weekend I found myself singing “Souda Souda Souda” in a low voice, and then realized – I really really like “Chokkan 2”. I didn’t think much of it one way or the other, and now I sing it to myself without thinking. Or at least, I’ve become so enthralled by the Close-Up version of the PV that the song’s creeped into my head and taken up residence like an unwanted relative.

The standard PV is fun – lots of posing, lots of concert footage, we get to see more of the costumes the girls are wearing… but it’s the alternate close-up PV that’s truly fascinating. It’s just the girl’s faces staring right at the camera – but it’s got so much personality, the girls each express themselves so distinctly, it’s reminded me that each Momusu has something different to offer in the mix.

Close-up PVs aren’t necessarily all that exciting. I mean, I’m a sucker for a cute face and Morning Musume is packed tight with them – but I don’t recall the “Ai Araba” Close-Up having me so captivated, for example. And as much as I love Berryz Koubo and watching the Close-Up of “Piriri to Ikou”, say, it’s more to daydream and marvel at how cute Risako and Chinami and Momoko are…

The Close-up “Chokkan 2” feels more active than that, seems to demand something for me. Perhaps because the girls aren’t just singing at the camera but making faces, making fists, pretending to cry, doing bunny ears, jumping around… It’s as kinetic and jumpy and scary as the song, and thus a perfect vehicle to capture the personalities of the girls.

The closest comparison I can make is actually to another alternate PV, the one for “Go Girl! Koi no Victory” which is just each of the fifteen Momusus going up to the camera and flirting (saying I love you or winking), trying to look as demure and sweet as possible. The “finished” version shows up in the main PV, but what we have here are the out-takes. Apparently, most of the girls seem to think that being amorous to a camera is ridiculously funny and we see the girls react to that ridiculousness.

It’s an incredible display of cuteness, but also a nice way of seeing the girls’ personalities shine: we see Nacchi lapse into a giddy fit that has her hopping up and down and waving her hands, Kago playing it cool and stealing some food, Takahashi bouncing around like her dancer self, and several of the girls hiding their faces in gleeful embarassment. I used to think this was the cutest damn PV from Morning Musume…

Well, “Chokkan 2” the close-up provides some pretty stiff competition. The alternate “Go Girl” PV is cuter because we’re seeing genuine emotions – happy ones, at that – coming out unexpectedly. “Chokkan 2” has the girls very much in their idol personae – but they’re working it, and showing just how well they can work it. No props, no characters to play, no gimmicks – just sing at the camera and make yourself interesting.

And most all the girls succeed in that. Most of them are able to bring out a certain essence of their idol personae in different ways, and the energy of the song seems to heighten the performance that much more. Some of the girls actually seem to be on stimulants of various sorts, though I think that’s just the beat.

The funny part is how the PV has made me declare to myself strong feelings for this line-up of Momusu – something I hadn’t been feeling in a while. Not that I began to hate the girls or anything, but my attention certainly went to other groups more… Berryz love and SweetS love and Hinochi lust, but the love for Momusu was waning. They were there, I cared – but hey, Hinoi Asuka’s shaking her ass and I’lltalktoyoulaterthxbye.

That isn’t the case anymore. Only last week Morning Musume felt to me like two really great idols and eight extras. Now… well, it feels like lots more potential is there, though of course it’s always been there and I just hadn’t been noticing it as much. Now I find myself thinking, “Which Gen 5 do I dislike the least?” And, “Who needs dental work even more than me?” And, “What was she thinking by going that blonde?” In other words, important debate about Morning Musume again concerned me.

There’s some Wizard of Oz moments – Koharu seems to get a personality, and Eri gets some sex appeal. Risa masterfully employs her playful side and just keeps looking more and more beautiful – I can’t believe she was the tow-headed pigtailed girl of four years ago, you know? And some girls are just more themselves than usual. It probably helps they don’t have to watch a stupid magician in order to earn scraps of food.

And Sayumi’s become a sudden favorite. Well, not sudden exactly – I thought she looked good with handcuffs and great in “Osaka Koi no Uta”. But she went from being my least favorite in my first year of Momusu fandom to… well, number three? Right behind Mikitty and Reina, at any rate. I wouldn’t say she’s hotter than Mikitty or Reina or even Risa – rather, they’re all different kinds of hot, and Sayumi’s attractiveness is especially clear in her “Chokkan 2” close-up. Can’t pin it down yet – part of it may be that she hasn’t dyed her hair yet and looks great for it, but it’s certainly more than that. Maybe like Risa, she’s hitting that point where she’s gone from a girl to a young woman. What’s it called again…? Oh, yeah: puberty.

Anyway, I have at least a couple more posts about “Chokkan 2” – about specific members, really – but won’t try to fit it all here. So let’s consider this “Chokkan 2” Close-Up Week and hope for the best. I’ve also got a couple of Science of H!P entries waiting to be written, so this should be a pretty full week of H!P goodness.


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One Response to “It’s Chokkan 2 (Close-Up) Week!”
  1. @ says:

    girls show hot dance