Koharu’s Revolution Begins

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

On Friday’s Oha Star, Koharu began promoting the upcoming anime where she’s the lead voice. And holy crap – I’m going to have to rethink my skepticism about the whole miracle girl thing. Not only does she look real cute in the above outfit – the same outfit her character wears in some of the publicity material – but she’s also singing songs for the show, which could mean she has a solo career within a year of being chosen for Morning Musume.

Let that sink in. Even if it does moderately well, the anime and solo songs will make her the most visible individual member of the current line-up. Not the most senior member, Yossi (though she’ll also be in at least one episode of the anime); not the oldest member and the only one with a previous solo career, Mikitty; not even the vocal powerhouses, Takitty and Reina.

One can’t help but wonder what exactly the other girls think of this. She’s also got her first solo photobook coming out soon – think of how long it took for the sixth gen to get theirs, and for that matter, Makoto. She’s clearly being primed to be a star. So I’m sure there’s some residual jealousy with her Musume-mates, it can’t be helped, but will there be more than that? Will it affect how the girls work together? Will there be grumbling and resentment? Or again, is this something they wanted nothing to do with and they’re glad Koharu got suckered into the assignment?

And how does Koharu herself feel about this? I’m sure she’s excited and thrilled, but does she also see this as a duty she needs to fulfill on behalf of Hello! Project? Will she start thinking in more careerist terms about her future and how she wishes to deal with it? Is she in any way embarrassed and thus uncomfortable with the other Momusu in what may be seen a stroke of good luck for her? I have no idea, though I’ll be keeping an eye out for any hints about this.

Anyway, when the announcer to the Oha Star segment brought up the Morning Musume connection, of course they used “Love Machine” as the background music – it’s the song most associated with Momusu even today. The concert footage of Koharu had her dancing, making an L with her hand, jumping around… basically being the wound-up ball of energy that we expect her to be.

I have to admit, the fact that she’s being singled out and being given all this attention makes me want to pay more attention to her. I can’t help but think, “Someone sees something very special in Koharu. Am I missing something?” So I look closer and I ignore the kind of vacant smile, I tell myself she looks cute and not just plain old silly in that outfit, that her hair is real attractive… Well, it is real attractive in its own way.

What makes it stranger – or perhaps more urgent, depending on what angle you approach this – is the fact that Koharu hasn’t distinguished herself as an idol yet. I don’t see any evidence that Koharu stands out as a singer, as a dancer, as a comedian, or even in the talk segments of Hello! Morning. For example, when I think of that Koizumi lookalike magician who threatened to dismember Koharu, the really funny lines come from Mikitty and Reina (“Bye bye, Koharu!”).

Maybe this lack of distinction, with its implied slide into eventual idol mediocrity, is part of why she got the anime gig in the first place. She just has to have a decent voice that carries the spirit of her character, which has some resemblance to Koharu in the first place. She does have to sing for the anime’s themes, of course, but I daresay that she’s got enough experience now – and enough experienced hands behind the production boards – to make her sound decent, if not spectacular.

Looking back, it seems Tsunku knew exactly what he was doing with the seven-point-five auditions. If he’d chosen the audition finalist I wanted – the cute sixteen-year-old who sang “Shabondama” – I doubt she’d be doing this at all. Koharu’s energy, malleability as a performer (think of how she took direction when Tsunku came to her home and went over “Furusato” with her), and her youthfulness all probably contributed to this anime gig. Putting up Koarhu’s picture next to that of her anime alter ego seems more convincing somehow, though why exactly I can’t place.

I’m not particularly looking forward to the anime itself, though I’ll likely download it since it’s about idols. But I’m absolutely fascinated about seeing how this affects Koharu’s career as an idol, both inside Morning Musume and outside of it. It’s kind of funny and sad that this happens at the same time Kago Ai is being put through a forced slide into ignonimity, but no one said the fortunes of idoldom were ever fair.

It’ll be interesting to see if Koharu’s solo songs become singles and how they chart on Oricon. By being in an anime based on a manga, Koharu already has access to a potential alternate fan base that would otherwise want nothing to do with Morning Musume or Hello! Project in general. If anything, it’s an extension of what Berryz Koubo did with their own participation in that anime show they sung for. So indeed, it does look like the children are going to inherit the earth as far as H!P is concerned.

What would be truly freaky – and I think highly unlikely – is if Koharu’s anime work becomes a sort of trojan horse for otaku, making anime fans into Morning Musume fans, in Japan but also here in America. If she does, if she can significantly increase interest in a group whose popularity has been on the wane for so long, then she definitely deserves the title of miracle ace.

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6 Responses to “Koharu’s Revolution Begins”
  1. Menno says:

    I’m just fall in love
    YA YA YA YA …

    Koha Pinku!

  2. Steve Harrison says:

    Wow this sounds good…where is the info on her PB listed? When is the release date?

    What you said about MM sort of crwling in thru the American audience’s back door by Koharu’s parts in the anime is really freaky if it comes to pass… IT WILL depend however, on how much exposure they give her (in the anime) and how much they mention Momusu in the blurbs….
    also, it will take some time for the anime to be released in the US (Jpan releases don’t count because otaku from the US aready know, and don’t care about H!P unless they are already fans…which won’t change anything.

    If the anime does do well, and eventually come to the US, it will still take a few years, by then H!P might be in it’s death thros..and as will prob happen, NO MENTION of morning Musume will be inc in the adv. or blurbs because according to the media big-wigs…NO ONE HAS HEARD OF MORNING WHO?? so why put in the advts….it might not even be mentioned even in Koharu’s bio/profile…or if they do..just a sentence, “former member of Japanese idol group, Morning Mooozamay!

    Ray, lets have a pole/wager…which group will sink and disband first. Momusu or SweetS..? Based on the fact that in Japan, pop groups that suck do better, while good groups disappear…it’s a toss up IMO.

  3. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    I said once before & I’ll say it again I LOVED RAINBOW PINK…! As for our girl Koharu….the jury’s still out.

  4. Beth says:

    I’m looking forward to Koha’s boost into the anime world, though I’ve fallen out of watching anime. I’ve always thought that the title “Miracle Girl” was a bit much, since I always associated it with Maki most, but I definetly agree with what you said. If she does, if she can significantly increase interest in a group whose popularity has been on the wane for so long, then she definitely deserves the title of miracle ace. That’d be amazing.

    Ganbacchae Koharu!

  5. Steve:

    According to what I read on the MM-BBS, the Koharu photobook comes out on March 25th and, as is the case with most MM PBs nowadays, is packed with a DVD.

    And I actually don’t think Momusu or SweetS will disappear any time soon. MM makes too much money, music sales or no. With SweetS, it looks like Avex are training the girls to make them the next big thing, though when that “next” will be is not clear – they seem to be looking at the long picture. At the very least, by the time they turn sixteen these girls will have a half-decade each of experience, which works in their favor – they’re still very young and yet already polished. I’d say we’re already seeing the payoff for that with the most recent 5-nin songs.

  6. Steve Harrison says:

    Arigatou, I think I will hold up my next order from AmazonJP until then.

    I will ck out MM BBS. I usually use JPOP CENTRAL MM Forums, but it is hard to find anything without having to wade thru 136 old pgs. and when you ask a Q. on the boards, someone ALWAYS flames you, saying you are posting in the wrong forums….
    BTW: I might be making up some SweetS t’s and sweats if I can find a cheap silk-screen co. The design is a BLACK “t” or sweat, with WHITE BLOCK “PENTY 5” or “PENTY’S 5 on the ft. and the SweetS hippie heart logo in pink or magenta (from the PB) on the back….This is mostly for myself, but if I am forced to makeup more than one, you will eventually see them up on eBAY.

    BTW2 OT: Just saw the new NANA “the movie” w/ subs.. (downloadable from various sites in almost DVD quality) never reading the manga was good, because most who did ripped the film. I thought it was really good….have you ever done a story about MIKA NAKASHIMA? “live” vers. of Glamourous Sky from the film rocks…..