First Impressions on the Momoko Photobook

Filed in American Wota 1.0

I got the Momoko photobook yesterday, and have to say that it pleases me to no end. I haven’t been as pleased with a pop idol photobook since SweetS’ Hi MA’AM. Now, is it the best idol photobook ever? No. But it features one of my favorite idols of all time in a highly concentrated dosage, enough so that it makes me lightheaded in its addictive wota goodness. In that sense, this photobook is an intensely personal experience for me. (Though perhaps not as intensely personal as Craig intends when he gets his own copy.) While a part of me can’t help but keep a critical eye on how this compares to other photobooks by other idols (pop and junior gravure), Momoko is Momoko is Momoko and that bias – that mania – has to be admitted if I’m going to be honest.

(On a complete tangent, I’m surprised nobody’s posted up scans of the entire photobook yet on Hello!Online or Jpopsuki. I may have to scan some of my favorite images here if a full set doesn’t appear soon…)

Technically, it didn’t have any photos as stunning or as impressive as the best in Miyabi’s photobook. (I still have that one image of her in the striped top and red shorts as my wallpaper, and it still takes my breath away.) This speaks volumes for Miyabi’s ability to project her idol persona in a more precise, practiced fashion than others, such as Momoko and Risako, who seem more naturally attuned to being idols. Momoko seems more effortless, but also much more compelling in how she woos her fan base.

Some of the quirks in designing the book – decisions to make it mo’ momo, I guess – help make it distinctive, though not always in a good way. The fumetti interludes that pop throughout the book – Momoko in a frilly white and pink outfit, traveling through the woods – are an interesting decision, gesturing towards some larger narrative without actually delivering on such a promise. It’s playful, though, reminiscent somewhat of the 50W book from Tsujikago, and should appeal to fans who love Momoko for her genki-ness. The decision to post the words “momo / momoko tsugunaga / photo book” throughout the book – it seems to pop up every few pages – is an intriguing style choice, as if anybody would be looking at these pictures and wondering who it is or where it came from.

While some of the shots were boring or cliched, Momoko herself never is. Her smile wins me over, her more dramatic moments convince me (well, more than others, at least), and I find myself lingering over every page even as a part of my brain picks its nits and demands better. My favorite pictorials are from the beginning of the book: the lacrosse outfit, the red bikini with the grey top, and the yellow dress that she wears on the cover. I wasn’t all that eager to see her in swimsuits, but the outfits and the shots were generally cute. And while the pink princess birthday pictorial initially horrified me when I first saw previews of it, I’m now warming up to them as showing another side of the peachy one’s complex, saccharine-infused persona.

I’ll be writing more about this in the coming weeks, when I get around to catching up on everything the H!P Kids have been up to in the past year. The news of a second Risako book, though, makes me hopeful for another Momoko book before the end of the year. And yeah, I wouldn’t be entirely opposed to her doing something a little more Garo Aida next time around… but something more Kiri Sari than Irie Saaya, if you know what I mean.

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4 Responses to “First Impressions on the Momoko Photobook”
  1. Anonymous says:

    “…but something more Kiri Sari than Irie Saaya, if you know what I mean.”

    I find it funny that I know what you mean. The things I spend my time on XD.

    I’d really like to see this PB, because I’m pretty sure that Momoko has become my favorite Berryz.

  2. Craig says:

    Your sidebar pic is freakin’ spoiler 😡 but oh so hot 😮 I forgive you X)

  3. Ray Mescallado says:

    Craig:

    You’re going to want to avoid the next few posts on this blog, then. Seriously, I’m planning a good deal of Momoko in the coming days.