Morning Coffee (1998)
Morning Coffee holds up surprisingly well, despite being almost 20 years old. There are some outdated editing choices, of course, the first being the opening transition. Was Windows Movie Maker 98 a thing?
Aside from some questionable editing decisions, the video itself has a beautiful, romantic quality to it, from its use of color to how each member looks towards the camera. Each close-up feels personal, a captured moment of vulnerability that only the viewer and member are aware of. It’s very striking, and rather effective, and it’s understandable why this image of Morning Musume captured the attention of the public during their debut. Abe Natsumi is especially captivating here.
It’s wonderful to see that, after almost 20 years since its release, Morning Coffee still looks as beautiful as it did in 1999. Whilst it’s definitely a video of its time, there is little doubt that some of these editing techniques, camera angles and pacing choices are still used today.
Wakain da shi! (2017)
A less-than-subtle send-off, Wakain da shi! is one of the more sentimental tributes to a graduating member, winning fans over with its simple, pretty look and heartfelt message towards 10th generation member, Kudo Haruka, who will be bowing out this December.
A clean, fresh video, Wakain da shi! is fortunate in the fact that it does not, at least not completely, contain itself to a studio, much like previous Morning Musume releases from this era. It’s a gorgeous, simple video that does well to show off the members’ bonds with one another, all the while keeping us informed that this is, indeed, Kudo’s final video with the group.
Wakain da shi! is truly the most graduation-worthy song this group has released, because from the beginning until its end, it feels like a goodbye. A beautiful, well-deserved goodbye, at that.
Wagamama ki no mama Ai no Joke (2013)
Wagamama ki no Mama Ai no Joke is deliciously fast-paced, from its quick, sharp edits to its flurry of movements and eye-catching choreography. It’s a video that keeps up with its song well, and there is no denying that it has some beautiful camerawork thrown in there.
This is a fan-favorite, song wise, but as a video, Wagamama ki no Mama Ai no Joke is quite entertaining, despite its simplicity in framework and overall H!P-ness. However, it’s the crisp editing, stylish attire and use of lighting that makes it a mesmerizing watch, plus, this is one of the groups few colourful-era videos that doesn’t make use of computer graphics to spice things up. It’s all practical, and it’s all effective.
Bonus: The members seem like they are actively enjoying themselves.
Mukidashi de Mukiatte (2016)
In terms of post-editing, Mukidashi de Mukiatte has some of the best computer graphics seen from Morning Musume in years. Though a tad overkill at times, everything feels seamless and unique, and the alternative shots are simply gorgeous. There is a subtle undertone of sexiness in this release, revealing a truly confident and mature Morning Musume that seems quite genuine.
This is a visually pleasing video, one that makes up for its lack of location and overall H!P-ness with its entertaining alternative shots, fast choreography and sharp editing. It is an enjoyable, intriguing video, one that allows you to forgive for its rather plain backdrop and typical dance-shot and close-up affair that is typical for the group and its company. Everything about Mukidashi de Mukiatte is captivating, whether it is the editing technique used, or the members, who are absolutely delightful in this.
Pyoko Pyoko Ultra (2011)
The debut of the 10th generation was a questionable one for many fans. It is probably going to be a questionable decision for this list, thanks to the childish themes it projected, however, it has something that a lot of videos from Morning Musume cannot boast: A lot of practical effects and a pretty good set.
Projecting imagery and practical sets are not the easiest to play around with, and whilst some might argue that the overall look and effect feels cheap and cheesy, there is no denying the vibrant colors and hard work that was put into Pyoko Pyoko Ultra. Sadly, it seems like this sort of dedication and attitude towards practical sets won’t be seen for a while, after the poor reception PPU received. Still, it’s good to appreciate what we were given, because there is some genuine hard work and effort thrown into this video, proving to us all that Hello! Project’s directors and editing staff can really show off their creativity and talent outside of the computer effects and chroma key backdrops.
It’s a cute, albeit obnoxiously, fun video, one that makes a few fans happy whenever they see it.