During my travels through the wotasphere I came upon an article by staff member Chiima comparing OKL48’s Eien Yori Tsuzuku You ni to Morning Musume’s Pyoko Pyoko Ultra.
She mentioned that perhaps AKB were liberally borrowing from Morning Musume’s concept and how they have been praised for looking like idiots in lemon suits while Momusu has been universally panned for looking like retarded farm animals.
After reading her article I have contention in regards to the purpose of the idiocy behind the concepts of the songs in question and a few other things. As always the opinions stated here do not reflect those of the other Selective Hearing staff or affiliates of the site.
Let’s look at the Lemon Man in the OKL video, Okamura Takashi. He is one half of the Japanese comedy duo Ninety-Nine. If you are a Hello! Project fan there is no excuse for not recognizing him and his partner Yabe Hiroyuki. Ninety-Nine were the hosts for the popular talent show Asayan, the program that birthed Morning Musume from its auditions.
Should you be unfamiliar with that show then maybe you recognize Okamura from the various Mechaike specials that specifically feature Morning Musume. The most famous being the Bakajo Kimatsu Test and the Undou Onchi athletics challenge.
Those of you who watch the program Mecha Mecha Iketeru (commonly referred to as Mechaike) should be very familiar with this man. If you are a J-Pop fan you should also at least have a vague idea of who he is since he has interacted with many artists over the years.
In the past he has done specials with SMAP, Whiteberry and more recently his second with EXILE and first with Shoujo Jidai (Girls’ Generation) where he intrudes on their lives for comedic gold. Some of these bits of awesomeness include on stage performances with the groups.
So as he has done in the past with Morning Musume in their prime, Okamura has teamed up the idol act in their prime now, AKB48. On December 1st there was a Mechaike special where one of Okamura’s most famous characters OKALEMON, formed a group from those who did not place in the janken senbatsu.
This has involved the members involved to dress exactly like OKALEMON and make asses of themselves in the name of comedy. Sure they look ridiculous and the only one who really should be wearing the outfit is Ichikawa Miori. (Fresh Lemon is her gimmick after all.) But the end result of this is a publicity stunt on Fuji TV to push more Eien Pressure singles.
Now let’s look at Morning Musume and their chicken suits. As far as I can recall there was no publicity on any major TV program to speak of (other than maybe their infomercial program known as HELLOPRO! TIME), and the concept itself was revealed before Pyoko Pyoko Ultra was released.
Actually, I don’t think anyone really understands the concept to this day except for hardcore Hello! Project fans that can read some sort of strange subtext into the whole splat of yellow that appears on the screen.
What’s the deal?
With all that said, let’s get to the burning question posed at the beginning of this article. You forgot already? Let’s remind you then. What was asked is why Morning Musume gets shit on for the chicken suits and AKB gets the love for dressing like lemons.
I believe I answered the question in the summary of the concepts above but I think it’s obvious one is a publicity stunt meant to play off the popularity of a variety show character to push singles. I don’t know how many AKB fans feel about the lemon suits because out of my small circle of friends I don’t actively participate in the fandom at all. I’m sure there are those out there who don’t like the idea and think the entire thing is pretty dumb.
Perhaps those of you who have an opinion about the lemon suits can speak up and let the people know whether the whole publicity stunt was a good idea or not.
I’m not going to rehash what I think of the chicken suits since I stated it back when Pyoko Pyoko Ultra was released. I’ll just say that it wasn’t as positive as the rest of the Hello! Project fandom’s reaction during that time.
The video for Eien Yori Tsuzuku is equally as bad and relies a lot on the lemon gimmick and charms of the girls and Okamura to carry it. The advantage would go to Pyoko Pyoko Ultra for having special effects and more yellow. But that’s about it in regards to quality of either video.
In regards to the point in the article calling out AKB48 for ripping off H!P? I think that’s mostly circumstantial evidence at best. Yes they share similarities in regards to dressing up like fools and the single covers look eerily similar but after that I believe the sameness ends.
Is either concept innovative or original? Not really. Just because an idol group decides to dress up in some unique costume doesn’t make it some amazing creative vision by default. That’s like saying a piece of software is awesome because its latest upgrade went up a fraction of a version with no core changes other than cosmetic ones.
Lastly, I want to point out one thing that really just rubbed me the wrong way:
…after the sudden breakthrough in Electro Idol that is Uza, courtesy of Morning Musume starting this electro tend..
This statement does a very big disservice to Nakata Yasutaka and Perfume. If you want to find out who brought the resurgence of mainstream Electro Idol you look in their direction first. Tsunku and Aki-p jumped aboard the bandwagon a few years too late to be laying claim to any piece of that J-Pop landscape.
From reading the comments on the original article many are already rallying behind Morning Musume and calling foul on AKB48. Hopefully I have at least given you a broader perspective behind the gimmickry and if you still think that Momusu is getting a raw deal, so be it.
All this really reminds me of the great fan wars of many moons ago. While it sucks to have to bring up these comparisons it’s bound to happen every once in a while now that the balance of power has shifted so significantly towards one side. (you take a guess at who is winning right now.)