Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Berryz Kobo confuses the crap out of the universe. And also fatness?

(Day 134: The lovely adult women of Berryz Kobo continue to blend with the natives.  No one suspects that they are not, in fact, obese hippos.  Except Tsunku, maybe???)

When the live footage for Berryz' new primary A-side, "1-Oku 3-Senman Sou Diet Oukoku," ("130-Million Diet-Minded Country/Kingdom") was released, I could not help but be a little confused.  Berryz has always been the "strange sounding" group in Hello! Project (ok, well, at least since the girls hit puberty >_< ), but this...



Yeah, I don't really have a word for what it was.

The sound of the new single was nothing short of spaceballs weird.  Not even an unpleasant weird; the kind of weird that makes a statement and forces you to listen to it whether you like it or not.  There is just *something* about certain ways of arranging and keying music that leaves even the most geeky of music geeks without a way to describe that feeling one gets when the mere sound of a song leaves one with more questions than answers.


So, beyond the sound, the most talked-about thing in this song is, of course, the lyrics.  They are catchy, of course (NENGARANENJUU!!!!!!!), but...well...


What the hell is going on with the lyrics, anyway?  "Everyone is on a diet all the time"//"Run for health"//"Run to eat"//"When people turn 60 they are all, like, FUCK I'M OLD AND I STILL NEED TO BE SKINNY FOR REASONS BUT NOT JUST THAT BECAUSE SUBTEXT" (rough paraphrase :D )

(These lyrics, you guys.  Momo just can't.)

So what do we make of this song?  This really is a one-of-a-kind thing from H!P.  The lyrics talk bluntly about Japan's eating/non-eating habits, and especially these days with "chubby" (LOL WUT) idols becoming more prominent (e.g. Avex's new group "Chubbiness," Suzuki Kanon being named a favorite "fat" celebrity...), this is a big deal.

But why?

That's what I want to know.  Why?


Was it *gasp* a clever Tsunku ploy to further shame the "fat girls" in Berryz?  (In case you missed his "heavy weight members" comment in a press conference a little while ago, you can see the translation here.)  

(Pictured: MOO. Like, totes.)

As unlikely as that is (really, it is very unlikely), I can still see it being a possibility.  Fat shaming is a thing in the idol world and the idol fandom, and we all know it (even though I would hardly consider any of the girls considered "heavy" by Japanese fans to actually be that, and most foreign fans would agree).  But come on--forcing the group to perform a song like that out of shame?!  That's a bit far fetched.  Thank His Noodly Appendage.

Social commentary, perhaps?  Maybe subtly remarking on the frightening fact that the incidence of eating disorders among young Japanese people has skyrocketed in the past few years?  Eh, more likely, but also doubtful.  But honestly, if any idol group started to make songs involving social commentary of any kind, I would kind of expect it to come from H!P.  

(Or BiS, but I digress...)

Why? Well, maybe because half of H!P has been in the industry for 10+ years now: it's kind of like having tenure--once you're that established, it doesn't matter how bad your reviews are, you're there to stay unless you blow up a bus full of nuns in the parking lot of a puppy shelter.

Or maybe it's just a fun song about culture and running around outside and eating healthy and enjoying life and things!  Wouldn't that be nice?!

I think so!  And I am delighted to say that I find this to be the most likely theory, in spite of my own overly critical face.  Honestly, I can see "1-Oku 3-Senman Sou Diet Oukoku" existing for a little of each theory, plus some other songwriterly shenanigans I can scarce begin to imagine.  

In any case, Berryz is off to a freaking bang this year.  I loved all of Morning Musume's redonkulass triple bloody A-side, but Berryz has me much more interested so far this year.  Which is really awesome.

Because seriously, ROCK Erotic is kind of a terrible song.


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