Berikyuu! Episode 3: Is The Bloom Off The Banana Already?

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The third episode was a bit of a disappointment. After watching it the first time, I had my wife translate it to tell me what was going on, though I had a pretty clear idea. I don’t want to “understand” these three minutes of idol action. I want to bask in it, let it work its magic on me, review it in some semiotically fractured – and hopefully crudely suggestive – manner, and move on with my life.

But no, this time I kind of knew what was going on, and it was boring. I brought in Barb to tell me, and it was exactly what I thought. What the fuck is that?

Again, we start with Manoeri lost in a book that probably doesn’t have Neil Obstat’s signature on the front.

It occurs to me: she not only looks better than the H!P Kids just by being the de facto host / introducer and being a solo act, but also by seeming more studious than the other girls. She’s not waiting around like a dunce to talk into a vase, she’s reading a freaking book.

She also looks considerably sexier in seifuku than wearing those ugly costumes the other girls have on. (Okay, got that one out of the way early.)

And is it me, or is she trying to work more of a Sayu vibe each time? Here it isn’t as good, though I can’t place why.

Part of the problem is certainly that the Kids are short by six girls. If all sixteen of them were here, that would be a vast improvement. Sixteen.

Though as always, it’s Momoko’s absence that most troubles me. And it gets me to thinking…

What if we’re looking at a Tyler Durden situation? After all, Berikyuu! is kind of like Fight Club in that people are brought together to beat the crap out of each other – at least, metaphorically. And that corn on the cob from last time resembles the genitalia spliced into the children’s movie: a sudden intrusion of phallocentrism in what seems to be an innocent children’s distraction.

It would also explain why Kanna and Maimai have been looking so disturbed all this time. Are they footsoldiers for Project Mayhem – I mean, Project Momo – and wondering why their leader looks like Ed Norton but swaggers around like Brad Pitt?

Also, Momoko in the “Dschinghis Khan” PV even has some flashes of Tyler Durden moments – wearing the dark glasses and strumming a guitar may have been her way of saying she was sinking into the Pitt. So who is the alter-ego of Tyler Momoko in this group? Who is really Momoko but we don’t realize it due to clever editing? My money is on…

Maasa! After all, she was the only one with a truly charming moment in the first two episodes! That’s a dead giveaway, since Momoko should be the one charming me! So are there flickers of Momoko in the background when we see Maasa? Is she getting enough sleep in that bed she once talked about on Music Fighter? Is she going by the name of Planet of the Apes characters?

And really, when you think about it, do we EVER see Maasa and Momoko together at the same time that couldn’t be explained by fancy video editing and a delusional split personality?

Hm? So in a way, Momoko has been here all along! Which isn’t much of a consolation, given that I can’t see her smile and kawaiiness. Maasa needs to go to sleep so Momoko can take over. Or better yet, she should have a kung fu fight with herself.

Back in the semi-reality of this show, the challenge the Kids have today is to guess one word in a song’s lyrics.

That’s it. I could have done this day’s reviews in a few dozen words and four or five screencaps and that would have been complete enough. But no, I don’t want it to be that simple, I don’t want it to be that obvious.

There has to be something more going on than the girls listening to a song and whispering one freakin’ word in the vase.

But then… have you listened to the girls whisper in the vase? It’s kind of sexy, isn’t it?

What it reminds me of more than anything is that closing song on the second Berryz album. The one with the cover where Chinami’s legs are like thin twigs threatening to snap under her.

For those who’re unaware of that closing track, it’s a simple music box melody with the girls all whispering to each other as they go to sleep. It’s a charming way to end the album, and one that should be done by all underage H!P units as album closers. It’s even called “Special Ending” – like what? Like the happy ending at massage parlors?

I like to lie down listening to that track on my MP3 player, imagining that I’m at the slumber party…

… hiding in the closet, waiting for the girls to all fall asleep after whispering to each other and giggling, waiting for my chance to pounce, my heart racing faster as the chloroform-soaked rags in my hand makes me a little dizzy, the amyl nitrate taking effect…

Suddenly, Miyabi breaks down the fourth wall of this review and yells: “Stop saying dirty things about us, you creepy old wota! That song is meant to show the innocence of our childlike idol ways, not an opportunity to eavesdrop and kidnap one of us! And stop staring at my monstrously huge chin, while you’re at it!”

Alas, the fourth wall gets placed back up right after that.

I’m learning to like Maasa again! Maybe it’s because she is indeed Momoko…

… or maybe it’s because I’m being reminded again of how spunky and good-natured she can be. Which means the show is working at least part of its magic, rehabilitating my opinion of idols I’d otherwise ignore.

Though perhaps changing one’s opinions may mean something different? After all, this show is airing pretty freakin’ late. I mean, it must be way past the bedtimes of most of these girls, right? Who in their right mind will stay up late for three minutes of this? Does Japan have Tivo?

And if you are willing to stay up late enough for this, why would one want to hear girls whispering into a vase?

And then it hits me… what else gets played on late night TV with lots of whispering? That’s right, sex chat hotlines!

So could it be that the vase whispering is supposed to make us think this is like those sexy hot-chat phone lines? “Meet people in your area who want to touch you in your area! They’re just a phone call away!”

Chinami may be used to this, after exchanging numbers with Bakanishi. “Hi Jin… oh, nothing. Just thinking about you and wishing you were here.”

“You want me to do what Vanessa Ann Hudgens did? You mean star in High School Musical? Photographs? What are you talking about? No way, there can’t be nude pictures of anybody on the interwebs! That’s not what it’s for!”

And then Maasa’s turn to do the dirty vase talk thing, as she asks, “What do you mean what am I wearing? I’m wearing a fugly green and yellow costume! What has that got to do with… hello? Hello?”

Nakasaki then goes, “Hello? Sexy chat lonely guy? How old am I? I’m as young as you want me to be! But I need to still be old enough to speak clearly, so please refer to Piaget to make sure you choose something within those boundaries.”

She looks great here, by the way. And for a seeming change, some of the girls are getting the answers right, as the question marked balloons indicate.

Next, Airi will be asked to whisper sweet nothings in the vase and then proceed to suck on some fried chicken bones to recreate certain sounds.

Airi finds this amusing: “Chicken bones? My dad the famous golfer says you have to suck on pig knuckles to create that kind of effect! Just friend him on MySpace and ask him!”

And again, we see Kanna and Maimai looking disturbed while Chisato just seems disturbed, if you know what I mean. Besides Maasa, Chisato’s been the bright light of the show so far. Maybe she should take over it completely.

Back in the real show, Miyabi asks a silly question, perhaps because she can’t get the answer right while others have…

A count is made of who did indeed get the right answer. Three for the Berryz…

And three for C-ute. So it’s another freakin’ tie! This is turning into some lame variation of the “Who Is Stronger, The Thing Or The Hulk?” debate where fanboys keep choosing sides but Stan the Man ends up equivocating and saying they’re strong in different ways or something. It’s a weak-ass copout, everybody knows The Hulk is stronger since he gets angrier and angrier and more powerful that way, and to say otherwise just to spare the feelings of Ben Grimm’s fans is to expose them for the limp pansies that they are. Also, “It’s Clobbering Time!” isn’t nearly as good a tagline as “Hulk Smash!”.

So it’s time to reveal the missing word in the song’s lyrics, the one four of the girls couldn’t guess and six of the other girls weren’t around to even make an attempt over…

… and the word is “banana”. Oh, come on! You have the word “banana” being whispered in a vase by teenager girls in the middle of the night? You know how many wota would pay good money just to hear these girls whisper “banana” into a vase over and over again?

Banana. Plaintain of my life, fruit of my loins. My sin, my soul. Ba-na-na. The hard pucker and release of that first syllable, a bilabial plosive – and oh, the suggestion of that very phrase, “bilabial plosive”! Two lips and a forcing of air indeed! This followed by the slip of the tongue between the teeth for the childlike repetition of the final two syllables, a schoolground chant, an incantation…

And now Kanna smiles, thinking, “Alright, they’re going to bring out that girl from MouTube who looks like Risa Coda and sucks down a banana like it’s nobody’s business!”

And when it becomes obvious that’s not the case, Kanna’s thinking, “Then send in that Panda Musume so she can give us all some of her Ancient Chinese Secret, you know what I mean you know what I mean?”

Alas, I don’t think that’s what happens in the next episode.


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One Response to “Berikyuu! Episode 3: Is The Bloom Off The Banana Already?”
  1. Kawaiirrhea says:

    That is the best Lolita-opening parody I’ve ever read. You rule.