If I Was A Crazed Conspiracy Theorist…

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

Oh, wait. Did I say if? I am a crazed conspiracy theorist.

In that case, lemme say point blank and without caution: the official Hello Project website is designed to make their performers look bad. And I mean that quite literally: the front page images makes many of the girls look horrible, ugly even. It’s been one hatchet job after another, and while the pictures of soloists haven’t been as egregious – the Gocchin librarian thing earlier this year was part of a strange image overhaul for her, after all – the group shots have often been ridiculously unbecoming for its poor victims.

I’ve spoken up before about Berryz group shots, which made even a beauty like Yurina look… well, not-so-beautiful. But the latest – and worst – example is Morning Musume’s.

Let’s state the most obvious: Yossi looks horrible, like Joan Crawford or Joan Collins or Joan Baez after an all-week bender. Seriously, it’s like she’s aged and become a bitter harridan from leading an ever-sinking ship. Even her neck looks like that of an older woman! Not that an older woman can’t have a sexy neck – I’ve seen many such examples – but Yossi is too young for that.

Risa is trying too hard to look cute and appears kind of… cartoonish? I can’t place it exactly, but this isn’t Risa quite. Something around the cheeks. Reina looks more cross-eyed than usual, which is strange because she hasn’t been looking cross-eyed lately at all. Not that I’d notice, anyway.

Mikitty just plain looks… dull. You can’t do that to Mikitty, you just can’t do that to her. She’s Mikitty, for Christ’s sake.

Perhaps the worst offense is that the two girls on the way out – Konno and Makoto – don’t look that good at all. Makoto’s strength is when she looks genki, happy, energetic – here she seems to be just waiting for the photographer to finish so she can get the heck out. In contrast, Konno… well, I haven’t been much of a Kon-Kon fan recently, but she just doesn’t look good here. A bit too wan, a bit too bland.

It’s not all bad, but what’s acceptable is just… middling. Personally, I think Koharu looks good, though noticeably older. Maybe she went on the same drinking binge as Yossi. Sayumi looks a little worn, but not nearly as bad as the others – it may be too difficult to make her look bad, despite whatever nefarious plans have been hatched against the girls. Eri and Takitty look okay enough, if anything.

Is this the worst image of Morning Musume ever? Perhaps not… But we’re talking horseshoes and hand grenades territory here. It’s close enough. And it isn’t like the girls don’t ever have good photos in other circumstances – the one from this post is a good 8-nin shot, for instance.

So why? Why does this happen so consistently? I can’t think of a decent Morning Musume portrait on that website since its redesign – there’s been at least one good Berryz portrait, in comparison. And while they don’t change Melon Kinenbi’s, they look reasonably good. Viyuden has had a spottier record, best as I can recall – Yui and Erika can suffer under the wrong lighting or angle.

Morning Musume, though, has been consistently hosed with their portraits on the website. And as everyone who gives a damn about Jpop knows, they’re the freaking flagship group of Hello! Project. If there’s any place where they should be allowed to shine, where each and every girl should look her very best and make a random web surfer go, “Whoa! I want to check them out in a video!”, this should be the spot.

Instead, they’re going to look at this picture and go, “Why is one of the girls’ alcoholic mother in this shot?” And, “Why can’t that girl look at me straight in the eye – with both eyes?”

And why do the folks that handle Morning Musume want this kind of response? Why do they want to make casual viewers lose interest and have actual fans become angry?

I have no clue. Of course, I have theories – but they’re tentative ones. Maybe they believe a smaller fanbase of rabid Momusu junkies – those who’d ultimately forgive such a picture or even become defensive about it – is better, more money from a more concentrated market. Maybe the photographer has some blackmail goodies on Tsunku or the UFA board, which is how that person got the job. Maybe Max Matsuura is slipping that same photographer a few thousand yen per bad photo in an act of inter-label sabotage. Maybe Momusu is getting really bad photos and Berryz just occassionally bad photos on the site so that interest in Berryz will increase and pave the way for their ascendancy.

Because if all these bad photos are mere happenstance – just the way things are – then that’s just pathetic instead of sinister. That would mean we don’t have a secret pact to ruin Morning Musume with the little details (and the big details, some would argue), just a whole lot of incompetence and a lack of good judgment. And I think that would disturb me even more than a figurative grassy knoll.


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9 Responses to “If I Was A Crazed Conspiracy Theorist…”
  1. CJ Marsicano says:

    It’s an OK picture, but that ribbon does not suit Her Royal Hotness (Reina) at all 🙁

  2. It’s no made clear that the permanent links have tonnes more stuff in them. I’ve been here a few times and I was surprised today when I scrolled up on the comments. I wonder now what I may have missed from before!?

  3. Anonymous says:

    yeah rly terible pictar lolz!

  4. Julia says:

    This has nothing to do with the entry, but I saw a Mini Moni cosplayer at an anime con both today and yesterday. She said she was Nono, though she was one of those cosplayers who you can tell where they’re from but can’t tell who they are from it, but the intention is still appreciated. I was quite excited, having had hope to see an H!P cosplayer, but not really expecting it. I can show you a picture if you’d like, once I get it on my computer.

  5. Julia says:

    I do definitely agree about the picture though. I thought Sayumi could’ve looked way cuter, and also agreed with your comments. Though I also thought Koharu could’ve looked a bit better.

  6. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    um….guys…..if ANY of you have found a pic of Sayumi NOT looking absolutely adorable please forward it to me for review.
    As for this pic yeah I’d have to agree(except that Sayumi is hot as usual).
    I have made numerous comments to my fellow jpop friends that I would like to slap the shit out of whoever is doing choreography & styling for HP!

  7. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    One of my friends accused Reina of being crossed eyed & I thought he was just being a dick but that’s kinda funny that you said:

    “Reina looks more cross-eyed than usual, which is strange because she hasn’t been looking cross-eyed lately at all”

    I had way more of a problem with the damn corn on her toe in her photobook pic. read about it here: http://youropiniondoesntcount.blogspot.com/2005/12/i-like-my-corn-on-cob-not-on-my.html

    I never really had a problem with her eyes looking crossed, I guess I was in otaku denial or something.

  8. Morning Musuko:

    You missed a lot, then, since I like to write long-ass blog entries pretty regularly. You should also know that I have a penchant for posting secret easter egg blog entries, as well…


    I’d love to see those photos!


    Even moreso than Rika, I think it’s very difficult to ever have a bad shot of Sayumi.

  9. Mark says:

    “The official Hello Project website is designed to make their performers look bad”

    I agree a lot, dude! Even Yuko’s pic makes her beauty disappear. That’s a crime against humanity. Why would they do that? The webmaster of H!P Official Site might be anger for something, and this is how he or she revenges lol