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One of my favorite things about H!P? The dance shot. I don’t know why, really. All I know is that watching formations of attractive girls dance to the music I love with few or no cuts… totally makes me happy. It’s probably also why H!P PVs don’t often disappoint me. As they tend to be little more than dance shots with some mixed in close-ups, it’s right up my alley.

So, without further ado… my Top 20 favorite H!P dance shots.

1. Berryz Koubou – Special Generation

It was this video that started my love for Berryz, and especially for Captain. I saw that little girl dancing her heart out… make the mistake like most people thinking she was the youngest (because DAMN was she tiny!), and just… fell in love with this dance. Watching these girls move like that in those boots? It’s impressive. I can watch this one again and again and again… and I certainly have. I pretty much learned the girls’ personalities from this PV. Except Maasa. But, I love her now, so… ^_^

2. Morning Musume – Iroppoi Jirettai

“New image” aside, I think this is Mosumu’s sexiest dance, and perhaps also one of the most playful. The girls are seriously smokin’ hot throughout, but you get glimpses beyond like, like with the little “tag, you’re it” move. Just… watch those hips. They’re magical. This might have been one of my favorite incarnations of Momusu… They’re coordinated, but not overly so.

3. Goto Maki – Some Boys! Touch

Only Goto Maki could do this… show up in an ensemble pulled from both a cavewoman and a cowgirl and dance in front of two Hard Gay imitators and make me LOVE IT. This is perhaps one of those ones that is kind of lovely because it is ridiculous, but at the same time? Watch the Sansa SanDisk commercial. It’s really just Goto Maki moving to this music, which does show me maybe it’s not just the LOL factor or the “Gomaki… drool” factor.

4. Milky Way – Anataboshi

I distinctly remember hearing this song the first time and thinking something was wrong with the audio file. It’s hard to believe I love this song so much now, but half of it is the OMG COLORS of the PV. I love that Kikkawa Yuu is always kind of slightly-behind or slightly-ahead with her dancing. The use of the tambourines is great. Granted… I severely dislike Sayaka’s outfit, but what can you do, right? This raises my heart rate *every time*.

5. W – Koi no Fuga

This was the first W song I ever heard. I was searching around on Veoh for something (probably Momusu or MiniMoni) and saw a link to a live performance of this. I loved the outfits, and the girls, and searched around. First, wow is it difficult to search for a group whose name is a letter, and whose other name (Double U) is the name of another artist. As it is… this is where my Kago love truly sprang into action. She’s so damn cute in this, but with just a hint of sexiness. I love the kind of incesty-twin thing they’ve got going on, plus the outfits, plus the song itself… I’ve seen the regular version PV for this maybe 3 times because I always watch the dance shot.

6. Morning Musume – The MANPOWER!

I cannot be the only one confused at first about the fact that this was the regular edition PV. Here it is the dance itself that got me at first. (Although, my first introduction to it was a 2005 Music Station performance where they’re in baseball uniforms.) The only thing I don’t like in this is the move where Yossie looks really bored as she ducks down across the front, and *then* delivers an awesome “Yeah~!” I have actually learned this dance… along with about 3 others on this list (which I’ll list as I come to them) and 2 other easy ones (Momusu’s “Hyokkori Hyoutan-jima” and Mini Moni’s “Strawberry Pie”). It’s just… fun.

7. Berryz Koubou – Jiriri Kiteru

First off, I love the lighting and the energy in this dance. One of Berryz’ more complicated dances, they handle it well. I also cannot ignore the looks the girls give as they’re touching each other up. It’s awesome. I mean, granted, for a girl, I’m a huge H!P perv, but still! The coordination is awesome here, and the girls really seem to be feeling it, so it’s great. And who doesn’t love the ending pose?

8. Buono! – Gachinko de Ikou

Yes, for all that Buono! are great dancers, they’re barely in the top 10, and it’s all Momo’s fault. If I wanted to see her stick her ass out, I’d look at one of her PBs. Still, hot girls in heels are a total YES. I’m impressed with the jumping in those heels, too, although less so with Momo because she isn’t wearing a stiletto like the other girls, despite being the oldest. But, like the music… the dance is quirky and fun, so it’s at least this much win. ^_^

9. W – Miss Love Tantei

This is such a FUN dance. There are so many lame pseudo hip-hop moments, and “detective” moments… There is a handful of hot girl-on-girl touching, and hip shaking, and Kago having no idea what to do with her legs, and it’s awesome. I must really love W in white in front of orange-ish backgrounds. ^_^ I just really like watching it.

10. Viyuuden – Ajisai Ai Ai Monogatari

Rounding out the top 10, my favorite Viyuuden song, which is the fault of this PV. The girls are all dressed super-different, which almost makes it feel as though this was a practice run. This is another H!P dance that I’ve actually learned, and well! I swear I can watch this just for how Rika’s skirt shakes. This dance is Awkward!Love for me. I mean, how lame is the part where they lock arms? But, I love it. (Granted, I had to up it to Youtube since the only dance shot versions I could find there were a flipped one and a few groupdub ones.)

11. Goto Maki – Glass no Pumps

I wish the super-slutty-looking bg dancers were not there, but Goto Maki’s breasts and legs are the stars here. I absolutely love the energy of this dance, as well as that little rotating crouch move. It’s sexy, but not as overtly so as “Some Boys! TOUCH”.

12. W – Ai no Imi wo Oshiete

I have tried, for years now, to figure out what the hell the girls’ skirts are made of, and I think I’ve just given up. So, okay, this dance is absolutely ridiculous. It looks more Mini Moni than W, and that might be why I love it. The girls look really happy throughout the PV, and the fun part is that at the end of it, you get to see Tsuji retrieving something (A hair? A string?) from her outfit that had obviously been bothering her throughout the filming. Yeah… cause the dangling ribbons didn’t tickle enough.

13. Berryz Koubou – Dschinghis Khan


I couldn’t decide between the versions of this. The first version has happy galavanting children and flashing lights, but not really enough actual DANCE. The second has (2 sets of) weird costumes (3 if you think the original costumes are), but more dance, which is fun. This is another H!P dance that I actually know… probably because it’s not too difficult. I would have ranked this higher, but it really doesn’t deserve it. It’s good, but not better-than-the-regular-PV good, and with such a simple, repetitive dance? I’m amazed I ranked it this high.

14. Morning Musume – Kanashimi Twilight

From the first moment, this PV POPS. Various somewhat-punky schoolgirl outfits rule, and Ai’s high-kicks? DROOL. Yossie during her solo? ALSO DROOL. I kind of know this dance, but only because I know where to jump, and toss my head pretty much. This was the first Momusu dance shot to come out after I got into H!P, so it’s probably just part od that “special place in my heart” thing, but I love it. It’s simple, but well-executed.

15. Kusumi Koharu – Koi Kana

This is the one Koharu PV where I don’t think her legs look impossibly gangly. Also, her air-star drawing? Awesome. This is spastic Koharu before it went into overkill mode, and I appreciate it for all that it is.

16. Morning Musume – Resonant Blue


This one also has 2 (well, 3 counting the original) dance shot versions. The original is good and all, but I prefer these two. In the one shot dance version, it’s just impressive to watch the way the dance comes together. The Lesson Studio version, though, is awesome. You get to see the backs and fronts of the girls at the same time. Because of the angle, Linlin and Aika are hardly seen. And Junjun, Eri, and Sayumi (especially Eri) are pretty irresistable throughout. It’s also neat to see the girls dancing in what is supposedly the clothing they like to practice in the most. (Although, seriously, Gaki? Because of the lack of lighting, you look like you’ve wet your pants in some shots. And Reina’s pants are just ridiculous for trying to move in.)

17. Viyuuden – Aisu Cream to my Purin


Another 2 shot-er! First up, the Elegant Dance Version. Everyone’s boobs look huge in those costumes, although Rika looks disturbingly like she’s trying to channel Marilyn Monroe. This is the better version of the video for not looking awkward, really, but for pure drool factor, it’s got to be the Pretty Dance Version. The girls in bunny suits never fails to impress, even if Rika’s nails are super-awkward at some points because of everything hanging from them. This is seriously the video I show to all guys that I think could get interested in H!P.

18. Buono! – Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!

Once again, Momo’s ass is everywhere and she has the easiest heels to dance in. What’s really impressive here is how well the girls can jump in place. Also, I really like the costumes here. Sadly, I think the dance is a little convoluted (with all of the posing and jumping) or else this would be significantly higher.

19. Mini Moni – CRAZY ABOUT YOU

Mini Moni didn’t do a whole lot of dance shots, and this is probably on here for sheer camp value. The song is really good, even if it never really feels like Mini Moni. The dance is cute hip-pop all the way, and it is all about trying too hard. The outfits are ridiculous, but that’s probably 1/3 of the fun right there. Mika, like always, looks really out of place and kind of fat, but it’s not as noticeable here as it is in some things. She actually blends pretty well into the singing because she doesn’t have as much accent, and that helps blend her into the PV better, too.

20. Berryz Koubou – Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance


This also gets two dance versions (kind of). First up is the actual dance shot which, really, was one of the reasons I did this post at all. I was watching it and going, “You know, I really like parts of this. The two outfit colors are used in such a way that there’s usually not a person of one color off by herself (as happens in Momusu’s “Naichau Kamo” and °C-ute’s “LA LA LA Shiawase no Uta”), also? Repetitive bum-touching combined with hip rolls!” However, having just fallen in love with this dance shot, it places low on my list… but still places! The Monkey Version, while not having much of the actual dance… has fun, and lots of it. The girls show PERSONALITY, and that’s why we all love H!P, right?

There are a few honorable mentions here…
I love Koharu’s Balalaika, but her legs look soooo gawky and gangly and chicken-y that I just can’t quite get over it, even if she looks otherwise great. Also, I really wish the bear was there in the dance shot, too. ^_^
Also, there is a °C-ute song that might have made it on there if it had an actual dance shot: Massara Blue Jeans (hip thrusting and chearleading uniforms for the win). W’s “Koi no Vacance” would be 21 for sure, but a lot of it is the costumes and how they look being danced in, sadly. And, really, I can’t forget Momusu’s “Onna ni Sachi Are”, or the fun that is Berryz’ “Gag no 100kaibun Ashite Kudasai”. Both are all over the place in different, but wonderful ways.

Kusumi Koharu – Hapi Hapi Sunday!

I’d heard some people describing Koharu’s new song from audio rips and the latest concerts, but I hadn’t really heard much good which surprises me because… I like this. Koharu’s high-range voice can’t get as spastic as her mid-range voice, so the “high harmonies” really balance out her singing. She also seems to be trending back toward a normal voice rather than her “Kill All the Ears With Genki Cuteness!” voice. For this, I will forgive PaPancake.

Watching through the video, I can’t help but be reminded of a few other H!P videos. There’s a few distinct moments of Nacchi’s “Koi no Telephone Goal” with the animation and one moment where Koharu holds out her pinky and shakes it very much like Nacchi did in her dance. And the scene where Koharu draws the heart with lipstick and then does it toward the camera? That would not have been out of place in MoMusu’s “Go Girl ~ Koi no Victory”.

Now, let’s discuss the outfit. Those wings are… yeah. Bad. I think it’s the shape more than anything, but I also think the outfit doesn’t really need it. Even the change for the end? I don’t think it adds anything to the overall effect. But, now that Koharu actually has legs instead of sticks, I think they did a good job showing them off. The outfit (minus the wings) is very flattering to her, and gives her something of a figure, too.

The song is classic Kirari stuff. It’s upbeat, girly and kind of strange at points. But, in this PV, Koharu proves that regardless of whether she can consistenly sing her own songs live, she’s still a consummate professional. The awkward changeover to the cape with attached fairy wands? Koharu makes it seamless. She is spastic as ever, but knows just when to keep her calm. I’m very impressed.

I can’t say this beats out Balalaika for my fave Koharu solo song, but I think I like this PV best of what she’s done so far. I’ve already watched it a good 20 times. >_< That’s more than I’ve seen some Momusu and Berryz stuff!

Next up,
Buono – co.no.mi.chi

I have no idea what this song is supposed to be about, but if it’s about going places? Then wow is this actually a relavant video. If not, then… eh. At least there’s penguins.

I’m liking the girls in all of the different outfits. The ones for the dance are a little strange in my opinion. Why is Airi the only one not wearing a skirt? Couldn’t she have been in a white skirt or something to be different, but kind of match? The safari outfits are cute, as are the overalls, but they’re far too plain. I do rather like the Hawaiian dresses and the jackets.

I didn’t really like this song the first time I heard a rip… But, the video has gotten me into it a bit more. I don’t think it’s as good as all of the previous Buono songs, but it’s still good. It still has me looking forward to the Buono! Buono! album. (I should note that I was Buono-resistant until Kiss!x3.) Momoko isn’t all over the place and her voice is kind of okay. Airi sounds great in this, and I think she needs to be allowed to sing in a slightly lower register in °C-ute, too, because it really works for her (and the new image she has with the un-poofy hair in the 4 Akogare MY STAR pics). But the really love in this? Miya. <3<3<3

Miyabi looks absolutely gorgeous in this. I liked her new hair from seeing concert pictures of it, but until I saw the true glory I wasn’t fallen all the way. Now, yes! Short-haired Miya! She shines and looks so much happier than she has in the last 2 singles where she went from looking bored to looking hopeful. (I’m really hoping they’ll push Momo to the back again and let Miya shine because the girl is really starting to embrace the fact that she can.)

Momo does kind of bug me throughout the video. I don’t think she’s pretty. In fact, I think she’s kind of plain. Her uninteresting hairstyle that is 2 steps away from a wonky mullet clashes with the other girls’ fabulous hair. And the worst part? In several of the parts where she’s walking, she’s super-over-emphasizing the movement of her shoulders so it ends up looking retarded. It’s not so bad in the Hawaiian dress, but she’s walking just like a penguin for several of the shots, and not just the ones the penguins are in.

Whoops! Almost forgot to discuss the dance. It’s not all that awesome to me, but that may just be that we don’t get to see a whole lot of it in this. I’ll reserve full judgement until I see a Dance Shot. As it is, though, I do kind of like the little air drum thing that Ongaku Gatas couldn’t pull off in Come Together. Best part so far? Dance solos. ^_^ All the girls look good, though especially Miya.

I did like seeing the girls drink milk from little bottles much like in Kiss!x3. And their reactions to the fake things around them are rather nice. But, it doesn’t raise it up to be the best Buono! PV it can be. I’d probably put it above Rottara Rottara and Honto no Jibun, but below the rest. It’s kind of mediocre, though still fun. Buono mostly just has such an incredible track record that while this is still good, it’s kind of a let down.

I figure that everyone else does it, and I certainly have the time to do so right now, so how about a year in review? Let’s go!

I’ll go through each group and talk about what they did, what I liked, and what I didn’t.

Morning Musume – Resonant Blue and Pepper Keibu were their only two singles, but they also released the Cover You album. They were in “Cinderella”, ended Haromoni@, started Yorosen!, had more PVs for a single song than ever before (Resonant Blue) and started to perform in places other than just Japan.  Personally, I liked all of that. It would have been nice for them to get one more single in there, but the album was almost like one big single anyway.

Berryz Koubou – Released Dschinghis Khan, plus the remix, as well as Yuke Yuke Monkey Dance and Madayade, and the studio album 5(FIVE). Performed/received an award at the Asia Song Festival. Ended Berikyuu! and joined Yorosen!. Lines started to be distributed a bit better. I’m also a fan of everything Berryz Koubou did this year. I generally like their singles, and I’m glad to see them divvying up the parts a bit more evenly.

°C-ute – Released LALALA Shiawase no Uta, Namida no Iro, Edo no Temari Uta II, FOREVER LOVE, Koero! Rakuten Eagles  plus the album 3rd ~Love Escalation~. Ended Berikyuu! and joined Yorosen!. Had a controversy about how Hitler was “taught” during Yorosen!. Maimi and Airi were lead on 3 of the 5 singles, and Maimi was center on 3 of the 5 singles. Those of you who read this blog know I’m not into °C-ute that much, so don’t be surprised that I wasn’t a fan of what they did this year. I prefered LALALA Shiawase no Uta to their other singles, but still didn’t particularly like it. And while I like Airi and Maimi? You’ve got 7 girls in the group. If Momusu can usually highlight their 9 members, why can’t you do 7? 2008 and still not a fan.

Ongaku Gatas – Released Come Together as well as the studio album 1st Goodsal. Mano Erina and Mika Muto graduated. Elder Club graduation was announced, which may signal the end of this group. OG didn’t do badly this year, though it would have been nice to have more than one single. They’ve only done 1 a year so far, though. I’ve got my fingers crossed that they’ll continue as a group outside of the H!P name because I do enjoy them, but I’m not that hopeful. Come Together was the worst single so far, but I think only because the other 2 were so much better, not that it was bad.

Buono! – Released Renai Rider, Kiss!Kiss!Kiss!, Gachinko de Ikou, and Rottara Rottara, plus the album Cafe Buono!. Were in Pizza-La commercials. Despite my dislike for Momoko, I still liked everything Buono! did this year. Their singles are amazingly catchy, and they have a distinct sound within H!P, too. Their outfits are always interesting, too.

High-King – Formed for the Cinderella musical from members of Momusu, Berryz, °C-ute, and the Eggs. This 5-member unit only did one single, but it was well-regarded as one of the best singles with possibly the best B-side ever in all of at least 2008. The group will likely not reform except possibly in concerts.

Milky Way – Released Anataboshi and Tan Tan Taan!. Both were good singles, and I’m definitely hoping for more Kikkawa Yuu now.

Athena & Robikerrottsu – Seishun Love Lunch was their final single, as the associated anime ended. I wasn’t a fan of any member of this group, so I’ll be honest… I didn’t even give it a listen.

Melon Kinenbi – Only released Charisma . Kirei. It had a shoddy video, but is still a decent song. The group announced that they would continue as a group after the Elder Club graduation.

Shugo Chara Eggs- Released Minna no Tamago. First major release by a group consisting solely of H!P Eggs. Cute, but not a bombshell of a song.

Viyuuden – Released “Nanni mo Iwazu ni I LOVE YOU”, a cover of a Momusu song. Disbanded shortly thereafter. I like the cover of this, and the video (with the very candid-looking bits) was a nice goodbye.

HANGRY & ANGRY – A non-H!P unit, technically, but they did release their first single “Kill Me Kiss Me”, a radical departure from the typical H!P fare. First group to have a MySpace, and to release formally in the USA. Announced plans to tour in the US and Europe, also a first. I adore this group, and think that they could definitely be going places, though after the Elder Club graduation, it definitely won’t be a part of H!P.

Abe Natsumi – Released 16sai no Koi Nante with Yajima Maimi from °C-ute, and Screen. Screen especially failed to report good results. But, I still found both songs easy to listen to, if not particularly memorable.

Matsuura Aya – Released Kizuna. Ayaya looked like a grandmother in this video, and the song was unimpressive.

Fujimoto Miki – Released Oki Tegami. Done in a different style than her previous solo work (similar to enka instead of the sugary pop), I found this my favorite of her songs, easily.

Koharu Kusumi – Released Papancake as a soloist. Got a lot of flac for her overexaggerated singing style. Released the Kirari to Fuyu album which received many more compliments for her singing style. None of it compares to her early Kirari stuff, I don’t think, but I still think it’s enjoyable to listen to.

Satoda Mai – Released Mou Sugu Christmas with Goda Kyoudai, as well as Hi wa, Mata Noboru with Aladdin. The Aladdin song did rather well on the charts, but I couldn’t get into it, or the Christmas song. Sorry, Satoda.

Mano Erina – Released Mano Piano, Lucky Aura, and LaLaLa-SoSoSo as indie singles. Never looked her age at all (17). I think Manoeri is charming. She’s a decent pianist. But, I think her voice leaves something to be desired.

Ice Creamusume – Formed through the NEW STAR auditions. My favorites are Youko (always Lightbulb to me, though) and Shenshen so far, but we’ll see when they actually start performing together?

I think that’s it? There’s quite a bit to look forward to in the new year, though. There’s a new MoMusu single on the horizon, and the promise of another new material album. Berryz has their first best-of coming out which will include a new song. Buono has a new single and album scheduled for early in the year. Matsuura Aya will get another album, Maeda Yuki will get a single. Satoda will put out another single with Goda Kyoudai. Koharu will release another single. C-ute will have another album. And that’s just in the first 2 months of 2009! It looks like it will shape up to be a good year. Elder Club’s graduation doesn’t seem to be hindering any of their releases, so hopefully the girls there will be more active post-graduation. My fingers are crossed!

I hope everyone is having good times during the final days of the year, and to help? Here’s H!P’s New Year’s card.

newyear2009

Oh, and to top it all off? Aibon is supposed to start releasing music again next year, too!