A Brief Pictorial History of: Most Pedolicious Musumes

Filed in American Wota 2.0

Christmas is upon us, and that can mean only one thing: an appreciation of pedoliciousness!

“Ai no Tane”: Right from the beginning, Morning Musume had members who were barely in their teens – but it took them a while to get members barely in their teens whose appeal came from being barely in their teens. That is, the road to pedoliciousness was not an easy or immediate one to take.

Fukuda Asuka is a cutie, but by no means was she pedolicious. She could be quite fetching at times, but nobody ever thought, “bikini photobook” with her. I think it had more to do with her personality and the somber mood of Morning Musume’s early singles than her looks.

“Love Machine”: Goto Maki, while thirteen years old when she joined, was certainly sexy – but not quite pedolicious. If Asuka seemed too mature personality wise, Gocchin didn’t seem all that young physically – she appeared older than her age, or at least she did so when surrounded by the likes of Yuko and Aya and Nacchi.

“Happy Summer Wedding”: There we go! It took fourth gen to find the perfect pedolicious idol for the group, Kago Ai. She was a cute youngster, there was a vibrancy to her personality and looks that made her stand out.

“I Wish”: The first time she grabbed the reins of a song, with her opening lines still standing up as some of the finest singing in a Morning Musume single.

“Renai Revolution 21”: Now, whether or not she was actually innocent or had long had bad taste in men (the Orange Range rumors come to mind), I have no idea. But she could project innocence as well as mischief with a startling mastery of her idol persona. The proof is in the way she made cruelty attractive: when she sank her fangs and claws into someone – in her impressions, for example – fans were delighted by her ruthlessness, perhaps even attracted to it.

What the fuck, she punched Yagu in the crotch and everyone laughed! That alone should tell us something.

Kago’s partner in crime, Tsuji Nozomi, was an ugly little kid with a mischievous personality and a strong work ethic – but by pedolicious measurements, that still just left an ugly kid. Here, though, we begin to see the young idol that could give Ultraman an extra rocket boost below the belt.

“The Peace!”: A great deal has always been made of the Tsujikago duo, and their chemistry certainly was a key part of their success. However, let’s not gloss over the fact that during the early years, Kago was clearly the favored child and Tsuji had to grow into her own before they could be seen as equals. By the time W came around, their partnership was rock-solid, but Tsuji had also emerged from ugly kid to beautiful young woman.

“Mr. Moonlight”: Fifth gen were all pretty young, though low on pedoliciousness. Takahashi Ai never seemed young in personality – or at least, the boring kind of young that could never radiate U15 love. Like Tsuji, Niigaki Risa was an ugly kid who benefited greatly from puberty and received a stunning makeover when the hormones subsided. Konno Asami wasn’t as ugly, but certainly had more appeal as she got older.

That left Ogawa Makoto, whose debut PV had her playing the love interest of Yoshizawa Hitomi in one of the most beloved pairings in H!P.

“Souda! We’re Alive”: Unfortunately, Makoto’s image underwent the reverse of other girls – as she got older, she was generally considered less attractive. The looks that made her pedolicious in these early videos gave way as she gained weight and began messing with her hairstyle. Puberty wasn’t as kind to her as it was on Tsuji and Risa, and unfortunately it happened in the spotlight. She always maintained an upbeat and fun personality but the idol world is, by definition, harsh and unforgiving.

Kago, meanwhile, continued to assert her own pedolicious qualities with an outfit more appropriate for somebody half her age. The fact that she can rock that look foreshadows how she and Tsuji would remain mostly infantilized for much of their time in H!P. They won our hearts as cute kids, but remained cute kids in their image a bit too long.

“Shabondama”: The debut of sixth gen was the most calculated stab at pedoliciousness yet, with all three new girls being thirteen or younger. (Mikitty doesn’t count for our purposes here.) Kamei Eri had interesting looks from the beginning, but seemed too bland to be completely pedolicious – again, she’s part of the club that benefited greatly from finishing off puberty and becoming a very attractive young woman.

Tanaka Reina not only had a stunning voice from the beginning, she also had a unique image – a tough yankee girl – that helped set her apart even further.

In contrast, Michishige Sayumi was much more the traditional, demure girl. Her role model was Ishikawa Rika, and she made claims to being the cutest in the group. What first seemed annoying and vain slowly emerged as a strongly-honed idol persona being played with the same focus as Charmy herself.

“Go Girl! Koi no Victory”: The three young sixth gen have all grown up and become quite sexy, each in their own way. If anything, they match fourth gen in the way they sharply developed their idol personae to excellent effect. Sayumi broke outside of the Charmy mold to become her own idol with her own sense of humor, Eri actually developed an on-screen personality after a couple years, and Reina ended up forsaking her yankee look and attitude for something… well…

Okay, I’m one of those who misses Reina’s old yankee style, but the fact is, she recalibrated at some point and it’s seemed to serve her well. So from a career perspective, there’s no faulting that. And for some reason, I still get that rebellious vibe in some of her photobook work, so that counts for something.

“Iroppoi Jirettai”: After too long a wait, seventh gen arrived in the form of Kusumi Koharu. Whether or not she was pedolicious from the start, she’s definitely pedolicious now. Here she’s being groped by Eri.

“Chokkan 2”: At the beginning, she radiated more of an over-caffeinated energy, like somebody spiked her sippy cup with speed while she was playing on the jungle gyms. As she grew into her idol persona, she’s been able to modulate it in an impressive manner: she can be taken seriously when she wants to be, as she does in her photobooks, and also shows her fun side. Her enthusiasm has served her well, as she seems to throw herself into her work and be completely in the moment, whatever the mood may be. Meanwhile, her solo work showed that she wasn’t an over-caffeinated child but simply insane – which for some reason looks quite sexy on her.

“Egao Yes Nude”: As pedolicious as Koharu has become, Mitsui Aika was pedolicious straight out of the gate. If anything, she’s second only to Aibon in how pedolicious she is, which is something of an achievement as far as I’m concerned.

The interesting thing about Aika is that she doesn’t come across as over-emphasizing her more juvenile traits, the way Aibon did, nor does she show any signs of a complete unmooring of cranial hemispheres the way Koharu does. Rather, her persona is more reserved without trying to seem too grown-up – she is both Monday’s and Tuesday’s child, fair of face as well as full of grace. If Aibon seemed both irrepressible and precocious, then Aika seems more quietly self-assured in her precocity.

“Kanashimi Twilight”: In her first year, Aika’s managed to assert herself without calling undue attention. That is, she’s very much a team player, but nevertheless her personality shines whenever the camera is turned on her.

If anything, this reminds me of Ichii Sayaka, who seemed to fade into the background but when given the spotlight was able to dazzle. This being the modern Musumes, though, none of the girls are allowed to fade into the wallpaper too much – their wota fan base won’t allow it.

“Mikan”: Aika had the best of the childhood photos in this video.

Oddly enough, I suspect that picture was probably taken after Morning Musume was formed. It’s only a matter of another generation or two before new members will join who weren’t even born when Morning Musume started.

Considering the type of wota that I am, it’s refreshing to suddenly be interested in Morning Musume as an H!P unit again. I have to admit, the last time I really cared about Morning Musume as much as I do now was around the time of “Joshi”. Now they’re far and away my favorite unit again, though the Pandas and the maturing of sixth gen also plays a role.

As much as I love Berryz and C-ute and appreciate the pedoliciousness of some of their members, Aika has certain things going for her that the H!P Kids don’t: the visibility and prestige of being in the flagship unit, sheer novelty, and a force of personality that seems a given with the most gifted Musumes. She also has a better rack than most of them – or the current Musume line-up, for that matter.

With Koha and Aika on board, this may not be the most pedolicious Morning Musume has been in terms of quantity, but certainly in terms of quality it’s up there with the early Aibon years. So in this holiday season, this is something wota should be grateful for, an unexpected treat in our stocking.

And hopefully, Aika’s first bikini photobook will finally be on its way in early 2008, with many more to follow. God bless us all, everyone!

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4 Responses to “A Brief Pictorial History of: Most Pedolicious Musumes”
  1. Japonaliya says:

    Wow, so i am not the only one who has the hots for Aika!!
    You know its funny, the things which most people would say, that she isn’t a beauty…thin lips, chin, is one of the reasons I am attracted to her (that, and the fact she is a spitting image of a former girl-driend)
    My only concern is that she really looked pedo-hot in the Twilight outfit, but is seems that on the following singles, she dresses, and wears her hair too grown up for my taste.
    It seems like they are trying to make all of MM look like Ai Takahashi!

  2. Radicalipton says:

    I still wonder why everyone was so fixated on Aibon, when she was way down on my list of top Morning Musume members … Attractiveness is so often due to attitude and energy, not so much physicality. Yes, Japonaliya, there is an ongoing attempt to “class up” Morning Musume and Aichan is often the model. This leaves C-ute and Berryz without any kind of model in that regard, so they have blossomed into independent entities, not just Morning Musume clones … As recently as this past summer, I was strictly a Morning Musume fan and considered C-ute and Berryz very much in the background. But as the performers grow up, they start muscling in on the leaders, creatively and otherwise. C-ute is now my favorite unit, galvanized into a force of nature. Berryz is right up there, but a completely different stype of unit, much more thoughtful and reflective (even moreso that Morning Musume) minus the undisciplined raw energy C-ute possesses. As for Morning Musume, they have come full circle and have earned their stripes as the founding group. In many ways they will always be No. 1.

    — This is Radicalipton signing off.

    http://radicalpatriot.vox.com

  3. Japonaliya says:

    Well, before Aika and still, my ultra-pedolicious girl was Momoko.(Berryz)
    Even at 15(?) she is still the cute bishoujo with kawai smile.
    Too bad I only like a few Berryz songs, and their voices haven’t matured much in the last 3-4 years (in fact, my favorite Berryz song was their debut single)
    I had high hopes for C-ute, but I still lean towards the music, and the material is been second rate.

    With all the problems Tsunku has had, at least he can come up with a great song for Momusu just when you thik they have had it.

    When I saw them in concert 2X in 2003-4 they still had most of the golden era members (Maki had just left) so it is hard for me to not long for the good old days…
    Yet…to be honest, most of the members, as much as I had admired them, did leave the gap that was there after Aibon and Nono graduated. Somehow, though they weren’t the best in any department, i think they had the quirkyness that endeared me to Momusu when I first noticed them during the Koi no Dancu Site and Happy summer Wedding era.

    Considering that I am prob. one of the lucky few to have actually gone to a MM concert, AND during the 4-5 gen. I can’t complain.

    Sort of like an old SF 49er fan re-living the Joe Montana days….

  4. Ray Mescallado says:

    I’ve just added PhotoCrank to this blog, so now you can caption pictures to your hearts’ delight.