Thankful for Jpop 4: H!P’s Silly Choreography

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

I must confess, I’m not sure of who does the choreography for Hello! Project – if there’s more than one person, if the person from the audition footage handles it all – but there are some cringe-worthy moves in the mix, the kind that leaves me scratching my head and wondering, "What the fuck?"

Some examples from this year: the lesbian crotch-thrusting horniness of Melon Kinenbi’s "Nikutai wa Shoujiki na Eros", the human clock moves of Viyuden’s "Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari", the inexplicable lapse into pantomime basketball on Berryz Koubo’s "Nanchuu Koi wo Yatteruu YOU KNOW?", the brain-damaging head shake of Morning Musume’s "Chokkan 2".

Often, it’s a lapse into cutesiness – such as the frequent charades-style moves the Berryz engage in. Sometimes, it’s just bad judgment: Melon Kinenbi’s song was already sexy, they really didn’t need to hump each other’s legs to make that point any clearer.

Now, why am I thankful for this? Because it’s a kind of litmus test for me as an H!P fan. On the one hand, there’s the odd pleasure of witnessing the hoofer equivalent of a car crash – kind of like Ashlee Simpson doing that hoe-down dance on SNL, but not nearly as humiliating or unexpected. It’s fascinating in a way, and shows you how far these girls are willing to follow orders (or, if you want to be cynical, how they don’t know any better). On the other hand, it is distinctive and certainly sticks in your head even if you don’t want it to. As I’ve said before, I unconsciously do the clock dance sometimes while listening to "Ajisai", and I don’t even do the moves to the Village People’s "YMCA" unless I’m thoroughly shnockered.

The silly dance moves aren’t a necessary part of H!P, and I wouldn’t miss them if they disappeared. H!P has some very interesting choreography, both good and bad. While watching the "Chokkan 2" PV, I was struck at how I could pick out some of the dance moves as belonging to particular songs – the fingers-spread, elbow jerks of "The Peace!", the sideways pointing dance of "Love Machine" – and they can be seen as silly, too, I guess. But over time, it’s what we expect and welcome.

In that way, I think it’s a physical manifestation of some of the aural tics in Hello! Project, most notably Tsunku’s strange gruntings in songs like "Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari" and… um… "Chokkan 2". (Souda souda souda! Huh! Souda souda souda!) Which really brings home the idea that if you’re going to love H!P, you’ve got to drink at least some of the Kool Aid to embrace their quirkier aspects.

And all that said, there are some moves that blow me away, even in the examples listed above. In the "Nanchuu" PV, I really really like that whole wave-motion at the very end, dramatic and a little dizzying. While it’s not a dance move, Megumi fumbling with her glasses is pretty damn erotic in "Eros". And when I watch "Aijisai", I flinch a little at how corny some of the moves are… and yet I think it’s also got the single sexiest dance performance of the year, by Miyoshi Erika. She doesn’t have to be half-naked and writhing on the floor, she just has to be moving her body and getting into the groove and – wham! I’m hooked.

And man, I’m grateful for Miyoshi Erika in that video, every time I watch it.


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3 Responses to “Thankful for Jpop 4: H!P’s Silly Choreography”
  1. Alice says:


    I won’t even go into how creeped out I was when I first heard the bassline vocal that he added in Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari’s chorus. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to listen to that song using headphones again.

  2. It always reminds me of how Timbaland would grunt and rap in the background of songs he’d produce for Aaliyah and Missy Elliott… Sure, it makes clear who’s behind the song, but does it make the song better?

  3. @ says:

    girls show hot dance