Tuesday, March 8, 2011

High standards or fan biases: Are Morning Musume PVs really that bad?


As I'm sure most idol fans or just Hello!Project fans already know, a short PV preview was released for Morning Musume's upcoming new single Maji Desu ka Ska. This is the second PV preview we've gotten and the second time the fan's reactions have been split. Of course the reactions are split for all PVs. Opinions differ, personal preferences are taken into consideration, and quite honestly you can't please everyone. Despite, how hard you try some fans will always be disappointed by a PV due to their own high expectations. But, when I saw the PV previews for Maji Desu ka Ska I was impressed. I was honestly impressed. The song is upbeat, the dance is simple but high energy and cute, the outfits are vibrant, vivid, and cute. But I still found that a lot of Morning Musume fans still thought the PV was terrible. Because it follows the same formula that Morning Musume PVs have followed lately.

But then I started to think, why do fans hate this formula so much? Do they not realize this is how Morning Musume has always made their PVs? If they haven't, were they following the same group as I was? Morning Musume is my absolute favorite idol group. I follow them the closest, and I critic them the closest. When I dislike something they are doing I strongly voice my opinion about it. But it seems fans are negatively voicing their opinions just to voice their opinion. If you go back and watch all of Morning Musume's PVs they all follow the same formula. Close-up shot, dance shot, and then random scenes of the girls when no one is singing, which is usually a mixture of close-ups or full body shots.

Morning Musume has hardly ever made a PV with an actual story line, or something else going on besides this formula. I can literally only name a handful of Morning Musume PVs that aren't like this. And those PV are: Aruiteru, The Peace, Namida Tomaranai Houkago, Roman My Dear Boy, I Wish, Morning Musume no Hyokkori Hyoutan-jima, Do It! Now, Mr. Moonligh ~Ai no Big Band~, and Koko ni Iruzee.

You could also argue that Egao Yes Nude, Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~, Naichau Kamo, Souda! We're Alive, and Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii jan count as well. But I don't count rolling in a bed, saying suki up-close, crying up close, jumping in heigh, or breaking fake glass as a story line.

I'm sure a lot of people reading this find that hard to believe. Since a lot of fans are waiting for them to make interesting PVs again. But all of their PVs have been the same. Even if you're consciously unaware of that fact. But make no mistake, Morning Musume follows that formula and so do most idol groups. And when I say you might not be consciously aware of this, I mean because directors have tricks to make a seemingly boring/low budget PV look more exciting or entertaining.

Now, that might be them having their close-ups in a more exciting setting then the rest of the PV.

Showing more shots of the setting/having them look like they are doing something. That eludes to a storyline without actually establishing one.

Have more than one shot of the dance. Seeing the same dance in different outfits adds the illusion that you're seeing something new, even though you're not.

Have them do something more interesting during their close-ups. Just because they are spinning and not standing doesn't make it less of just another close-up.

Have them wear more than one outfit, having another outfit makes the PV more dynamic. It also makes it look like it has a high budget and fans will often over look the lack of a storyline if there is more than one outfit.


Now, all of this might have been visually appealing and exciting but that doesn't make it a storyline. A storyline has dialogue that lets you know what's going on in it. Or it silently follows a storyline. Like falling in love, going to the beach, committing suicide, or just about anything really. Something that actually tells you a story while you watch it. Apparently Morning Musume fans want of all of Momusu's PVs to be Michael Jackson's Thriller video. But aside from AKB48, most idols aren't making PVs like this. Name the last idol PV you actually saw that had a storyline. I mean like the ones you see in American music videos. I honestly can't think of any. Within or outside of H!P.

Then if the storyline isn't a problem, what is? If you take the storyline out of a PV you're left only with the other pieces. Which are the dance shots and close-ups. Which are the PVs that JE and some 48 groups and subgroups are making, as well as lesser know idol groups. But I hardly ever see any of those fans complain. And I have to wonder if it's because the fans like that formula, or is it that these groups are so popular and on top of their genres (male and female idols separately of course) that they have nothing to complain about? I'm going to go with the second one.

Here are some idol PVs that are the same caliber as Morning Musume's PVs.

KAT-TUN-Ultimate Wheels

Hey! Say! JUMP-Arigatou Sekai no Doko ni itemo

SDN48-GAGAGA

Idoling!!!-Eve

Canary Club-Daisukki

Not Yet-Shuumatsu Not Yet

AKB48-Chance no Junban


And of course there are plenty more. But these are just the ones I could think of on the top of my head because they are recent.

But despite all this, it always seems like Morning Musume are judged more harshly. That Morning Musume is the only group making bad PVs. I don't understand the bias between fans. And I don't understand how harshly PVs are judged. I understand that sometimes a PV is so awful you have to complain. But every single Momusu PV gets judged harshly. No matter how much better it is than a previous PV or how similar other idol PVs are. It makes absolutely no sense to me. I might like H!P and JE the most but when their PVs suck I'm the first one to say it. And when their PVs don't suck I'm there praising it. These are idol PVs, and to expect them to be a masterpiece is ridiculous.

It seems like fans are also judging Momusu too harshy is because they have been around for a long time and are dwindling a bit. And hating on them is the cool thing to do in the idol fandom. But what about Arashi? They hardly ever release interesting PVs or ones that break the standard formula. But they have been around nearly as long as Momusu and sell significantly higher than them. And yet rabid Arashi fangirls hardly complain about anything they do.

I don't know, this is basically just a rant. And I'm sure I'll get a lot of comments telling me I don't know what I'm talking about. Or that they are an unbiased fan, so that in some way means all fans are unbiased. I think I might actually be one of the few truly unbiased fans out there. And I know that sounds extremely arrogant, but sometimes it does feel that way. I just really wanted to get all of this off of my chest. So, what does everyone think? Thoughts, opinions, disagreements. I'd love to hear other fan's inputs.

11 comments:

Ryo said...

From what I observed, I think only fans outside of Japan are unhappy about the PV. The wotas are not complaining about the PV, it's the costumes the girls are wearing that they're having trouble with. LOL

Mina☆ said...

I wasn't impressed that much with Chance no Junban or Not Yet's PVs either. I don't Kat-Tun's PV was close to Morning Musume's PV; they used some really cool editing. Now for me, I critique when I am just not impressed/ when I am bored. I'm not checking things off and I've even mentioned how impressed I've been with Momoclo's PVs considering how low budget, but fun they are.

I just like it when they are visually appealing and make me like the song more. Like: Nanchatte Ren'ai and Shou ga nai Yume Oibito. More outfits, interesting angles and camera shots, nice backdrops. If I like the song more after watching the PV then I like it. My main problem lately is that it is obviously formulated, which means they probably are doing a poor job because I am noticing that. (Arashi's Lotus uses that formula but I don't think about it while watching it.) The outfits and backgrounds have also been hit or miss for me. Plus, I might be subconsciously comparing AKB's and MM's PVs, and AKB's PVs have been really impressive lately.

Ryo said...

I totally understand what you mean. Who else would not compare if there other good quality PVs out there. However, I do not think UFA gave Musume enough attention to allocate more budget to the production of the PVs. I can recall a few Kpop PV that are so much better quality and obviously have a better budget.

So rather to say it's formulated, I'm assuming that this is just the best the creative team can do for Musume with what little that they were allocated for. (^q^)

AimxAim said...

@Ryo: That's usually how it is. Foreign fans seem to make a big deal over things that Japanese fans don't even think twice about.
Am I the only one who loves the outfits? They are like Naichau Kamo mixed with Maji Bomber. I love them! XD

I also understand about comparing if there are other good PVs out there, but for the most part idol PV are pretty much exactly the same. That's why I posted so many examples from different agencies. Hardly any other idols are making better PVs but it seems like Momusu is always judged the harshest.

Their are several reasons why Kpop PVs are better than Jpop PVs. But that's neither here nor there.

That might be true to an extent, but I think it's more beyond that. Other H!P fans said C-ute's Aitai Lonely Christmas and Dance de Bakoon, and Berryz Koubou's Heroine ni Narou Ka were amazing PVs. But they were nearly the same format as Momusu's were. For some reason Momusu is just judged the most.

AimxAim said...

@Mina: I wasn't that impressed with Chance no Junban or Ultimate Wheels, but I LOVED Shuumatsu Not Yet. Yes, it was simple but I thought it was energetic and fun. Much how I feel about Maji Desu ka Ska.
That's when I critique also. But it seems a lot of fans are just way too harsh about Momusu for no reason. I agree on that. Momoiro Clover's PVs are usually amazing. But that's because they follow a storyline.

But more outfits and different angles don't really add anything to the PV, and are just are the same formula. That's what I was trying to say in my post. No matter how much camera effects a PV has it's still following the formula most fans claim to hate.
I also think that, that makes a PV more dynamic and interesting. But most fans still complain. But if they are complaining about that, and Morning Musume has ALWAYS made PVs like that, I don't understand what they want or are expecting from PVs.
I think they've always been obviously formated. I think it's impossible to not notice that they were. Watching Lotus you completely notice that formula. I mean it's basically the Monster PV in different outfits and backdrop. Arashi's PVs are worse then Momusu's. Lately their PVs have just been them standing. Like in Dear Snow, Hatenai Sora, and To Be Free. Yet, hardly anyone complains. Arashi fans are really intense. XD

The outfits and backgrounds are always a hit or miss for me too. Like in Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game. I hated the outfits, but I still kinda liked the PV. I don't really compare PVs unless they are weraing similar outfits, are doing similar effects, or have a similar backdrop. Beyond that I don't compare. AKB48's PVs have always been really impressive. They make the best idol PVs out there, in my opinion. They always have a storyline and are always fun to watch. I also really like Watarirouka Hashiritai's PVs. Valentine Kiss is one of my favorite PVs of the last couple of months. It's really adorable.

Travelling Girl said...

The main problem lies with us foreign fans as the people above have said. I think we are so used to seeing the high budget videos from American or world renown artists that we somehow expect that from MM as well. I think that a lot of MM fans somehow regard the group as being above the rest of the idols and therefore don't understand why their videos don't stand out from the crowd. I think everyone's waiting for some sort of shocking Lady Gaga moment from MM. They'll just have to make do with Berryz Gaga themed pv instead. lol.

AimxAim said...

That's definitely a main factor as well. I don't think foreign fans realize that American artist can spend half a million on a music video, and Japanese idols probably don't get any where near that much.
I don't see why fans would regard them higher than any other groups. Maybe because they've been around longer, but beyond that I can't fathom why.
Lol. Morning Musume is probably never going to make better music videos. Even at the peak of their popularity, their videos weren't all that amazing.

natalie said...

"It seems like fans are also judging Momusu too harshy is because they have been around for a long time and are dwindling a bit. And hating on them is the cool thing to do in the idol fandom."

This this a million times this!!

Tbh I do want MM to do more intesting concepts and thats why I liked maijska. It had an intesting idea: the letters in the back ground.

AimxAim said...

Lol. To some extent is really seems like that's why fans dislike them.

I feel exactly the same way! And I love Maji Desu ka Ska for the same reason you did. That PV was awesome, but for some reasons fans still hated it. :/

Anonymous said...

I would say that you're still a biased fan though, since you are defending MM which means your biased, just in their favor and not against them.

I don't think you need a super high budget in order to make a nice PV, and it would be nice if MM's PVs were more creative tbh. Souda we're alive is my favorite MM single, and even though the PV is stupid, at least it shows the girls doing different things and posing and being random and silly while doing the same old close up/dance shot formula. I liked Maji Desu ka Suka PV, but I feel like what people miss is the more relaxed feeling old PVs had or they want something a little more aesthetically appealing, like new angles and interesting backdrops and composition just so it doesn't look half assed (c-ute's shiny hotpant song (sorry, I don't remember its name) video featured the same dance shot/close up thing plus a chair and an apple, and it even recycled the backdrop from OOLG but people liked it because it had better takes and it wasn't as simplistic)

AimxAim said...

I would say I am slightly biased against them. But not in the sense that I think they are superior. More in the sense that I see how great they are, and wish everyone else saw it too. However, I don't think this post is biased at all. I'm just pointing out how people seem to judge Momusu's simple PVs harshly. But when other idol groups release simple PVs no one says anything. I also want to point out that I love most of the example PVs. The only PVs I didn't like are KAT-TUN's, Canary Clubs', and Hey! Say! JUMP's.

I agree you don't need a high budget to make a great PV, and that Momusu's PVs lately lack creativity. Because they honestly do. Souda We're Alive is actually one of my least favorite single. But I do love the PV because of how random and fun it is. I usually like PVs that are silly, fun, and energetic. I don't even really care what the set looks like if the PV is itself is fun. See, I would personally hate more relaxed PVs. I'm just not into them. Because with more relaxed PVs I seem to focus on the set and dance more. Which almost laways turn out to be horrible.
Shiny hot pants song, is the greatest way I've ever heard the song described. It's Kiss Me Aishiteru, btw. And I actually didn't like that PV at all. XD The girls looked pretty but the PV was too simple. So simple I didn't even bother writing a PV review about it. ><