The Hard Eighth, Part 1: Okinawa

Filed in American Wota 1.0

An unrepentantly shallow assessment of the Morning Musume Happy 8 Auditions as they progress. So the search for Momusu’s gen eight has begun, and this time I feel… strangely underwhelmed. I like the current eight-nin lineup! It’s cozy, it’s familiar, and I already get plenty of U15 goodness from Berryz and C-ute. There’s no need to add more preteens to Momusu at this point… or is there?

But hey, if Tsunku’s going to go ahead with it, who am I to object? He was right with Miracle Girl Koharu, he was right with Tsuji, and he was right with the H!P Kids. So if he’s going to choose new girls, might as well start taking an active interest now as they’ll again change the face of H!P’s flagship unit.

According to this week’s Hello! Morning – which also features Berryz Koubo (woohoo!) and a trip to Hawaii by Nono (dammit!) – there’ll be ten auditions across Japan…

… including the first-ever audition in Okinawa! Home of Speed and Amuro Namie and Max and Orange Range and… um… a whole bunch of other musical talents.

Given Okinawa’s influence on the Jpop landscape, you’d think there’d be a lot of scrumptious girlgroup talent waiting to be discovered, right?

This girl looks cute sorta and talks about being a fan of the group since she was small… Which, considering how young she is, could just mean since the week before.

She doesn’t make it to the finals, so we can ignore her after this.

Having no interest to ever be caught on film doing anything that I’d want to be on film doing, I find it interesting to think about what motivates some girls. This one, for instance, doesn’t seem all that confident… does she think being drooled over by considerably older males will help her self-esteem?

This one seems more obvious – extroverted and ready to perform, jazz hands and everything. She’s just raring to go. But she doesn’t make it to the next round either, so forget you ever saw her.

This one’s pretty cute. On the American Wota Pedolicious Scale (patent pending), she’d rank a solid seventy out of a hundred with an easy mark-up to ninety with the proper make-up and stylist.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t make it to the next round so unless she pulls a Koda Kumi, we’ll probably never see her again. That said, already my heart’s broken that she didn’t make the cut. *sigh* These auditions are just as brutal on the wota as they are on the idol wannabe’s themselves.

Anyway, the announcements are made on who’s moving on to the next round…

And some are apparently surprised to have made the cut. I’m sure there’s many in the viewing audience who feel the same way.

So from Okinawa, five girls go on to the next round. Let’s take a Hard Eight look at each of them.

I don’t even want to give these girls names yet, because it’s like kids with puppies or serial killers with their murder-and-torture victims – place a name to a face and you get too attached. So with that in mind…

Okinawa Number One looks pretty cute, at least to me. I like the thing around her neckand the fact that she looks considerably older than eleven. On the pedolicious scale, she’s already hitting a solid eighty-five by sheer dint of hormonal precociousness.

That said, she seems more like the type to wind up on an Avex girl group, doesn’t she? That is, she kinda looks like she can work that too-young and too-sexy vibe with the right clothes, the right make-up, the right dance moves from SAM.

Okinawa Number Two is… puzzling. Does anyone believe she has a serious chance beyond this stage? While many of the girls of Momusu went through a “chubby” phase – meaning they weren’t purely skin and bones – it was after they made the team, not before.

She doesn’t rate at all on the pedolicious scale, and even I’m not vicious enough to take any further potshots here. That said, if she does make it to the next round, I’ll probably root for her because she seems an underdog – and hey, Konno and Tsuji both turned out okay, right?

Okinawa Number Three strikes me as… hm. I can see her becoming H!P idol material, though it’ll take work. But it’ll take work for any of them, that’s just the way it is. Very few are born natural idols, they have to be molded and marketed to make it in that field. Which in a way makes it more democratic and populist than other performing arts, which places such a premium on talent and creativity and such nonsense.

Which reminds me, why don’t they have a swimsuit competition for these auditions? If they’re going to be in Momusu, it takes more than singing and dancing! They have to look good in swimsuits for photobooks, they have to be willing to dress up in funny animal costumes, they have to be willing to dress up as sumo… We should see all that before any girl makes it to the finals! Especially the swimsuit part.

I wasn’t too won over by this girl at first, but then they showed her in this scene where she talks about going home if she didn’t make it and being surprised that she did…

And the delight and mild embarassment at her good fortune ranks a solid eighty-five on the pedolicious scale. Very cute, very engaging when she speaks.

Okinawa Number Four reminds me a lot of Aya from SweetS, but without the obvious singing talent…

So really, not like Aya at all.

I like the fact that she’s wearing a Barbie T-shirt. It would’ve been cooler if she was wearing Penty, and funnier if she was wearing Osh Kosh B’Gosh…

But I really don’t get much of a vibe from her. A thirty-two on the pedolicious scale.

Okinawa Number Five is something of a cutie, and she actually does a decent job going through “I WISH”. That liveliness and the excellent song choice counts for a lot with me.

She’s got a great deal of personality, and I like what she’s wearing – even if it doesn’t have the brand name of a toy on it. Still, she rates a seventy-four on the pedolicious scale, and even higher if we factor in the charisma and genkiness. Out of all of them, she seems the one most likely to just dive in and become a productive member of the unit.

Or is she? Afterwards, she talks about being concerned as there was already a Koharu in the group…

Lord knows, Momusu wouldn’t have two girls with the same name in a unit at the same… what? Takahashi and Kago? Really? Never mind.

Originally, seeing screencaps on MM-BBS, I was rooting for Okinawa Numbers One and Four. Now, though, Okinawa Numbers Three and Five seem better fits for Momusu. Okinawa Number Five’s mildly boneheaded comment works only a little against her, since UFA isn’t exactly looking for rocket scientists.

Someone should call up Garo Aida and alert him to Okinawa Number One, though. She’s eleven so that’s at least three years of schoolgirl-in-the-swimming-pool photoshoots if she wants to go that route…

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11 Responses to “The Hard Eighth, Part 1: Okinawa”
  1. Garamond says:

    From the clip I saw and heard I didn’t get much of an impression of their singing abilities, but judging by looks alone I liked #3 best I think. She seemed like a cute, happy sort.
    #1 hit 2nd place on my cuteness-meter, though she didn’t seem as cheerful as #4 & #5… She also looked a bit “haggard”, if an 11-year-old can be that. Maybe she was tired.

    It’s hard to judge them by these few seconds of footage, and none of them are guaranteed a place in Momusu yet anyway.
    I’m hoping we’ll see lots of better candidates from the other 9 places.

  2. Craig says:

    I can tell these Hard Eighth reports are going to be good for me 🙂

  3. Chuck says:

    I remember during the Koharu auditions, the Morning Musumes forgot about Kago as well. There was some girl named Ai, and they were like, “Oh, but we already have an Ai. We can’t have this girl too.” And Takahashi was all like, “Uh, I was the second Ai, remember?”

    Oh, and #1 freaked me out, because she looks like a girl I used to go out with, but that girl was 26 and she’s only 11.

  4. Craig says:

    ^ I need to find me a girl like that 🙂

  5. Ray Mescallado says:

    Now Craig, do you mean a 26-year-old who can pass for 11 or an 11-year-old who can pass for 26? Are we talking “legal but with possible fantasy roleplay” or “illegal but with plausible deniability”?

    On a tangent, I wonder if odds have already been placed somewhere on which girls will continue to the next stage after this one.

  6. Freya says:

    I haven’t yet anyone who shares my opinion, but my favorite out of these five is definitely #4.
    Sure, her voice was weak, but she’s sort of cute, sort of gawky, and with the right training she could bloom just like any of the others before.
    Plus, she’s 14 already and I don’t really wanna see an 11-year-old added to Momusu.

  7. Craig says:

    On the record 26 passing for 11. Off the record… 8)

  8. Tsuji_Eriku says:

    I don’t know guys…..I guess I’ll just have to trust Tsunku’s instincts here….

  9. Garamond says:

    I’d like a rich 85 year old woman who could pass for 18, with the mind of an 11 year old. Thanks in advance. 🙂

  10. Angela says:

    I’m rooting for 4 and 5. 4 has a Kaori like quality about her and I’m a Kaori fan girl. She just needs to learn some breath control and learn not to sing from her throat (though, I’m 99% most of Momusu do, anyway…)
    5 has that whole Amuro Namie thing goin’ for her, plus, she had the most “charisma”,well, if you can call that charisma…and that’s what Momusu REALLY needs right now.

  11. Bene says:

    I prefer the last girl.
    Fo me she is the only who can sing.
    The #3 is cute, very cute but I see her more in °c-ute or something like that !
    Too shy & too… small to be in MM.
    I do not like the others