Chokkan 2 Close-Up: Disquieting Konno

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

Of all the Chokkan 2 close-up performances, Konno’s was the exact opposite of Koharu’s in that it seemed to be the most passive… She doesn’t jump around or make faces as much as any of the other girls. But it didn’t surprise me… if anything, it was within character for her.

Konno seems to be at her best when she’s reacting quietly, often confusingly, to other people. She seems by nature a quiet girl, intense when defending herself but never bringing a ferocity to her interactions with others.

What I remember most in her HelloPro News segments was a kind of Stuttering John quality to her interviews with other girls. She’d show up in some LoliGoth gown (many thanks to Alice for pointing out that style decision a long while ago) and then fumble her way through a few observations that don’t quite make sense to the interviewee. For some reason, that became quintessential Konno to me.

Certainly, she doesn’t seem to have a problem with this kind of persona: if anything, it seems to complement her educational smarts quite nicely. She’s got brains, but also is kind of flighty – it’s a new kind of stereotype, the airhead genius, someone lost in the clouds but who knows the way clouds are formed.

Of course, there are also a couple of other aspects of Konno that are also worth considering. Unfortunately, neither seem to tie too much into the Close-Up PV.

First, there’s the roots she has yet to shake: that she was chosen for Morning Musume as the surprise fourth member of her generation for her spirit, not her talent. In other words, like Tsuji, she wasn’t up to snuff as a performer but chosen for other reasons. Tsuji’s been able to kick that stigma, but for me, at least, the question of Konno’s “worthiness” still hangs in the air at times.

By this I don’t mean if she’s useful to H!P: she’s a good enough comedian (though not top notch) and important to futsal as one of Gatas’ goalies. But in performances, does she stand out? I didn’t particularly like “Namida” – her showcase song – and sometimes one wonders if she’s a bit out of her depths at times.

This may be an unfair assessment of Konno as an idol. But most of the other girls have stepped up to the plate and done more with their leads… But then, Hello! Project is all about giving different kinds of girls the opportunity to shine, each in their own way.

The second aspect about Konno that unfortunately gets downplayed by focusing on her face is that great body that was so wonderfully displayed in her photobook. Any time I wonder if I’m still a Konno fan, I take a look at some pictures from the book and find myself very enthused about her all over again.

It isn’t just the fact that she has an incredible, incredible body that made her photobook work: she knew how to work the camera, to play her vulnerabilities and to have that right mix of innocence and flirtatiousness that created a sense of personality. She also has such a distinctive face, and knows how to use it to great effect when she wants to. Unfortunately, here she limits those expressions to a kind of generic enthusiasm with occasional bits of pouting.

If anything, I’d say there was more of her personality in that one photobook shot hf her in the white bikini, pointing to the sea, than in this entire Close-Up PV. But we got to see her rack in that one shot, as well as the curve of her hips, and we don’t here. I’m not sure if that has anything to do with anything but I figure I’d mention it.

Which is funny, because that means Konno may have a better future if she decides to go into gravure instead of sticking to singing or doing comedy. One cannot imagine her having a solo singing career when she graduates, nor can one imagine Tsunku creating a unit just for her the way he did for Rika. (Rika at least had the advantage of a much stronger fan base and a persona that wasn’t as quirky or off-putting as Kon-Kon’s can sometimes be.)

As for her performance in the video: she looks at the camera, smiles her Konno smile, and that’s about it. This shot of her pointing at the camera is about as agitated as she gets, she doesn’t have the dynamism of the others… but then, it’d seem a little out of place with her, wouldn’t it? After all, she was the one who just stood there and deflected balls off her racket without moving in the “Uwaki na Honey Pie” PV. (In the end, the ball just bounced off her anyway, and she seemed oblivious to it.) Konno is the quiet girl with the crazy view of life, and it’s hard to make that work for a Close-Up PV.

Here’s the dental work shot: a little crooked, but I think my own are worst. Not as scary as that shot of Koharu’s.

Beyond being the quiet but strange girl, Konno can turn up the charm and just let her unusual beauty shine. She looks good in the PV, perhaps a bit overdone with the make-up, and she does get… well, as worked up as we’d ever see her get, over the song. Like I said, it’s a strangely passive performance compared to most of the other girls, but Konno can be an enticingly, strangely passive idol.

If anything, watching Konno in the close-up PV doesn’t make me wonder about her role in Morning Musume, but how far she can take that role. What future does she have as an idol, if any? She seems to enjoy the life, such as it is, so one can’t assume she’ll let it go and move on… But what will she be known for after Momusu? I’d bet on bikinis with a side of comedy work, but I could be wrong.

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2 Responses to “Chokkan 2 Close-Up: Disquieting Konno”
  1. niji says:

    She seems to enjoy the [idol] life, such as it is, so one can’t assume she’ll let it go and move on…

    She’ll let it go if she has to. This is Konno, after all. When Momusu disbands, she’ll prolly just be a cook or get a degree or something like that. A gravure idol, as you suggested, seems like a remote possibility, but it could also happen.

  2. Alice says:

    I think she would make a good talent. Maybe her and Niigaki can form a comedy duo?

    Still, I think you underplay her abilities. She has had a fair number of solo moments in the concerts (Namida, Momoiro Katamoi) and has been getting a decent amount of face time. She has a fairly-defined personality (quiet, like you said, loves food, good natured) and I think she fits the image of the group just as well as any of the other girls. Plus she can act as well as anyone else (see: Cyborg Shibata 3).

    Nonetheless, I’m a total Konkon fangirl so I can’t help but sing her praises. I can’t stand Momoko, but I could totally watch Konkon all day long. God now I need to get the Chokkan PV DVD.

    (Note: Usually they abbreviate Gothic Lolita as GothLoli [or gosurori as the Japanese pronounce it] not LoliGoth)