Def Diva’s Cheer Song

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

I’d been meaning to write about this footage for a while but am only getting to it now. It’s Def. Diva performing their song “Let’s Go Rakuten Eagles” at a game. Mostly, I just wanted to make appreciative comments about how great the girls look in their baseball jerseys and shorts…

But I also got to thinking: why Def. Diva? What’s the point of getting them to do this? Originally I thought this was paving the way for a new Def. Diva single, as this particular “solo group” extends its lifespan.

However, could it just be because the Rakuten Eagles needed a new song? Thinking about it that way, a couple of things come to mind: the fit of the song and the appeal of the unit’s members.

“The Manpower” was a Morning Musume single being used for the Rakuten Eagles. That is, the priority was on having a Momusu song, and from there we can infer what baseball-ness is available in that song. I just looked at the translated lyrics on projecthello and that only reinforces the impression.

If anything, the repetition of the word “mysterious” is as un-baseball as you can get. If anything, baseball is a very plain, straightforward sport – I’m reminded of George Carlin’s famous monologue about the differences between football and baseball, emphasizing an old-fashioned pastoral quality to America’s (and Japan’s) pastime.

In contrast, “Let’s Go Rakuten Eagles” isn’t only baseball-specific, it’s team-specific. What it lacks in mysterious allusions of love, it makes up for as a team cheer song.

As for the quality of the song itself… well, I’m sure it’s catchy during a baseball game. It’s not something one would automatically want to put on, but does it need to be? It has a specific function and fulfills it. I’m not sure it’s fair to ask for anything more.

Then there’s the question of who’s singing the song. This makes me think that perhaps Def. Diva weren’t revived to help set up a new single but simply because they were the most appealing unit H!P had for the general public.

Let’s say you’re a baseball fan and see Morning Musume singing “The Manpower”. First, what’s the deal with the togas? Second, is that really Morning Musume? The line-up at the time included Iida, Yagu, Rika, and Yossi – those girls would be recognizable from the Golden Age, with Yagu as “that sexy beam chick” and Rika as the cutie from “The Peace!”. But there’s a bunch of other girls and they aren’t the Morning Musume most people recognize.

Def. Diva has much more recognizable starpower – the brightest light of Morning Musume circa “Manpower”, Rika, is now the smallest of the guns. You’ve got the two most popular members of Morning Musume during their Golden Age, Nacchi and Gocchin. You also have the best-known of H!P’s soloists, Ayaya.

Casual fans can at least look at Def. Diva and go, “Yeah, I know them!” The flash of recognition and nostalgia is all you really need to win over a casual audience, something Morning Musume’s constantly changing line-up can rarely provide.

And this time around, the H!P unit are wearing baseball-appropriate clothing with just a bit of sexiness thrown into the mix. It’s actually not as sexy as the Sports Festival uniforms, but there’s a kind of tomboy pajama charm to that get-up.

Ayaya’s now had lots of practice working with cheerleaders in recent months, considering her performance with Hinochi a while back.

Rika seems the one most in her element – not only because she’s a Gatas jock, but she’s got the kind of… effervescent… quality that sports crowds would love.

Nacchi looks quite nice, as well. I like her more rough-and-tumble than delicate and lady-like, though her smile dazzles either way.

And I love Gocchin’s hair like this! It’s not as sophisticated as the hair she had in that Tokuban episode, but it’s quite sexy on her.

The cheerleaders, I wish I’d seen more of. But they’re strictly backup dancers for the Divas, so I can’t complain too much.

Gocchin seems to chafe against being constantly placed in the solo groups, but it’s good visibility for her. As she seems to be rehabilitating her image as a solo artist, maybe she can find some answers with Def. Diva. At the very least, it gives a reasonable alternative to the seductive librarian look…

I wouldn’t say that Ayaya’s learning the error of her ways from the past two years, but it’s nice to see her get away from the ballad / serious diva thing as much as possible. If anything, listening to her commercial side – such as shilling for iced tea with upbeat songs – is helping her to find the median strip between artistic seriousness and crowd-pleasing pop enthusiasm.

Rika looking particulary triumphant throughout her performance, very much into the team spirit thing. Which makes sense. After all, she’s performed at the Eagles’ stadium with three different units now: Morning Musume, Viyuden at the start of this year (unless I’m remembering it wrong), and Def. Diva.

As for Nacchi… well, she’s got high visibility this year, with the prison drama, playing the Peanuts with her sister in another drama, and continuing her solo career with her second solo album at last making the light of day. The scandal is long behind her, and it hasn’t left a dent in her career! (Nor has Yagu’s scandal hurt her, either. So cheer up, Kago! The odds are in your favor.)

On a personal note, “Sukisugite Baka Mitai” is finally growing on me – a little. And the resemblance between their PV and Berryz’s new PV is making me look at it some more. All in all, I wouldn’t be disappointed if Def. Diva does indeed release a new single. Though to be honest, I’m still rooting for Gotsumattou to appear.

Whatever the case, Hello! Project should congratulate itself – and Def. Diva – for delivering an ideal product to their client. Many may think it crass to think of the commercial side of music, but that’s what Jpop is all about: the achievement of art at the hands of highly refined commerce. “Let’s Go Rakuten Eagles” is simply a more obvious example of such, and should be appreciated on those terms.

And oh yeah,the girls look great in their shorts. Woo-hoo!


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4 Responses to “Def Diva’s Cheer Song”
  1. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    Hot Hot Hot Hot

  2. CJ Marsicano says:

    Whoa, Nacchi’s doing a drama based on The Peanuts?!? Given how often I spin their best-of CD, I gotta watch out for that.

  3. Alice says:

    CJ: Yeah with her sister Asami Abe.

  4. Shay says:

    The Rakuten Eagles may not be the hottest team in Pro Yakyu but hey, who needs to be when you got that ^!