Favorite PVs of 2005: #9, Hinoi Team’s “King Kong”

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

Here’s the other major guilty pleasure in my Top Ten. That said, we’re talking about a stupidly catchy song and sin-inducing eye-candy, as lethal a mix for girl group Jpop as one can imagine. I’m only human, there’s no way I couldn’t have fallen in love with this PV.

Of course, pop music has a long tradition of "stupid but catchy" –  "Louie Louie" for starters, and the "souda souda souda" of "Chokkan 2"more recently. You don’t expect complex answers to philosophical conundrums in pop music – if anything, you often just don’t want to think at all.

At least, not above the neck. 

I must admit, part of me feels bad about having Hinoi Team in my personal Top Ten and not SweetS’ "Mienai Tsubasa" – but quite frankly, Hinoi Team was much more on the ball this year than SweetS. There’s a Ramones-like quality to Hinoi Team – they know what they are, they know what they’re expected to deliver, and they live up to these things with no real muss or fuss.

These girls are just barely in their teens, they want to have fun and be idols, and I sure as hell don’t want to get in their way.

Hinoi Asuka has undergone quite a transformation, from a miniskirted teen rock goddess to para para squad leader. And she’s taken so well to it! Then again, why be a solo artist when you can lead the Jpop equivalent of the Heathers?

And remarkably, Hinoi Team has done a good job of differentiating the three other girls in the team. Hikaru seems to be the lieutenant in the group – at least, she seems to exude that kind of force of will.

The baby of the group, Keika’s my favorite, though I think that’s just me giving in to my worst impulses. I’m usually not a sucker for pigtails – but man, look at those ears!

(Okay, in Jpop I’m almost always a sucker for pigtails. But in real life, I can take or leave them.) 

And from being easily confused with Keika in "Ike Ike" – well, I got them mixed up at first – Rina began standing out as a total hottie in this PV. By "Night of Fire" she was positively incendiary.

This is certainly the best of Hinoi Team’s ridiculously catchy singles so far. "Ike Ike" was good but too generic – even the PV, while providing eye candy, didn’t go beyond that. "Night of Fire" is a very funny video, but Koriki ruined the actual song. Let’s be clear on this: I like watching him goof in the PV and am real pleased to see him dancing as well as the Hinochi girls. Nothing about the video needs to be changed. But all his grunting and threatening in the song ruined a really good song that I already loved because of dream.

The formula of the PV is simple: girls flirt with camera, do some para para dancing, smile and – when necessary – look shy and virginal. It’s pretty damned calculated and for this we should all feel shame. I’m sure dozens of Gods’ tears have been shed because of sins spurred by Hinochi.

That said, we can lie and claim that the variation of settings makes a damn whit of difference in the PV. The girls para para dance by a fountain! They stand on a rotating pedestal in some auditorium! There’s waterfalls! There’s…

I don’t know what else there is. And I don’t care.

God’ll probably shed more tears tonight. 

Because there’s no getting around it: the come-ons in this PV are downright criminal – and I’m not just being metaphorical here.

Oddly enough, the actual para para dancing is the least appealing part of this PV. Which is funny, because there’s an excellent para para dance version – the girls in some hallway, just going through their moves – which is positively hypnotic. (When I wrote on Thanksgiving about being thankful for Hinoi Asuka shaking her ass, it was that dance video I had in mind.)

But we see too little of it here, and it’s not as engaging when the full range of hand movements and swings and steps are involved. Granted, it’s not the most complex set of dance moves ever conceived – nothing that involves the possibility of being drunk is, after all. But trust me, watching those moves performed by a pretty girl makes it the equivalent of ee equals em see squared for the pants. I don’t get the macarena or the hustle, but I definitely see the draw of para para as spectator sport.

The whole flower dress wardrobe is the source of much attention. I live in Hawaii and think that whole lei-covered beach goddess vibe is silly… but "King Kong" is on a whole other plane of paradisical fantasy.

The funny part is, these come-ons are being played up for their innocence. These girls don’t mean to turn you on – they’re just friendly, flirty, and way too young for anyone’s own good. Hinoi Team’s management is very good at playing up the tensions of U15 appeal – which may help explain the image Hinochi project.

They’re not the polished idols-in-miniature of SweetS (and certainly not the postmodernist rorikon sirens of Bounceback-era SweetS), nor are they the regimented troupe of Berryz Koubo. Rather, they seem like everyday girls who happen to be a little extra hot and a little extra young and a little extra happy. "Ike Ike" plays up that girl-next-door goes-out-to-party vibe more, but we get a sense of that here as well, especially in the girls’ rag-tag shirts-and-shorts outfits. And it’s there when they work the camera with their abundant charms.

So when Hikaru and then Asuka walk down the staircase after giving the camera a shy smile, what are we to think? Of course our mind follows them down the stairs and around the corner.

And when Asuka takes a flower and shoves it in the camera’s face, the flirtation is almost too much to bear.

Rina gathers up flower petals from the ground and blows them at the camera. Cute, acceptable…

And then there’s Keika, walking on-camera, looking around as if afraid of being caught, then taking a bit from  a fr
uit. She looks at the camera as if suddenly caught, and then…smiles. This one’s my favorite, and likely the reason I’ll be burning for all eternity if I don’t straighten up and pray for forgiveness.

On a slight tangent, "King Kong" is actually quite popular at my most recent workplace, where I conducted my Jpop brainwashing experiment. Despite the jailbait vibe of team Hinoi’s girls, the actual songs were too catchy to ignore – well, too catchy and too goofy. (I also suspect the fat wrestler presence made it more palatable to them somehow, but I’m not sure why.)

In real life, being faced with this much of a tease can be maddening… most of the time. But sometimes you meet a girl who’s all tease and above-board about it. You may know you have no chance with her – or think you better not have a chance with her (since such girls exude a You’ll regret being with me vibe that’s even stronger than any pheremone) – but you can enjoy the flirtation for what it is: clean, harmless fun.

One last note: Asuka turns fifteen this coming Sunday. The Big One Five!

We should all celebrate somehow.

Next: #8 is the feel-good song of the year.

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6 Responses to “Favorite PVs of 2005: #9, Hinoi Team’s “King Kong””
  1. wells says:

    “‘Night of Fire’ is a very funny video, but Koriki ruined the actual song. Let’s be clear on this: I like watching him goof in the PV and am real pleased to see him dancing as well as the Hinochi girls. Nothing about the video needs to be changed. But all his grunting and threatening in the song ruined a really good song that I already loved because of dream.”

    There is actually a Korikki-less version of the song on the single if you are so inclined.

  2. Wells:

    Thanks for the info! Now if someone could put the Koriki-less song on the Koriki-ful PV, I’d be a happy boy.

  3. Alice says:

    I can do this tomorrow…

  4. Actually, someone just put up a Koriki-less audio of the PV over at the MM-BBS! Many thanks!

  5. Matthew says:

    Eye candy? They’re THIRTEEN…

  6. gladys says:

    the PV king-kong very beautifull

    Asuka kawaii girl ^_^