Happy Aloha~♡ Friday!!!
For tonight’s Unzipped♥ we’re going back to the year 2003, remember Momusu’s Sakuragumi and Otomegumi units? Arguably one of Hello! Project’s best pairing of units ever, these temporary units being active from late 2003 until approximately the summer of 2004 and I clearly can remember the “scare” of 2003 which occurred when fans became alarmed at the possibility that Momusu was being permanently separated into these two units, however to everyone’s relief these two units just turned out to be extensions of Momusu in the form of two temp units =). Personally while Sakuragumi’s sister unit Otomegumi had an impressive lineup of members, for me the two just couldn’t be compared quite equally as I loved Sakuragumi on a level simply not attainable by Otomegumi and it went beyond the obvious overall favored member lineup for me personally as I’ve always thought that Tsunku just penned much more favorable songs for Sakuragumi back then during their all too brief history. And please don’t mind my bias 😛 here as I simply couldn’t have chosen a better group lineup in…Konkon, Gakisan, Kamei, Yossi, Marippe, Aichan, Aibon, and Nacchi as they weren’t only beautiful as a group together but in addition their ensemble of vocals were also spectacular to say the least with just one regretful thing being Nacchi’s departure before their second single “Sakura mankai” which I would have so loved to heard/seen her in =(. And a not too often mentioned concert release that I really love is Sakuragumi’s concert DVD which was released in June of 2004 as the unit went into inactivity. As both “Gumi” units only released two singles each these individual concerts include an impressive array of old and new H!P songs which fill up their concert song lists going as far back as “Morning Coffee.”
Okay so after just a further moment to reminisce and pay homage to Sakuragumi which as aforementioned was always my favorite of the two “Gumi” units by far both member inclusion and musically speaking, tonight we’ll be taking the way back time machine once again as we revisit a most memorable episode of the great show Utaban with this episode starring our favorite hosts Taka-san & Nakai-kun as always with their guests of honor being none other than these two very units which continue for me to be still two of the greatest Hello! Project units every dreamed up by Tsunku with Sakuragumi & Otomegumi’s everlasting legacy remaining I believe in many fans’ hearts.
~MM. Otomegumi & Sakuragumi single releases~
~MM. Otomegumi & Sakuragumi pv DVD single & concert DVD releases~
~Morning Musume Sakuragumi “Hare ame nochi
suki♡” (music video)~
Sure Otomegumi was much more musically diversified but as you probably already know, I’m a sucker for the gorgeous ballads♥ always =). Plus the whole cherry blossoms theme played so beautifully in Sakuragumi’s recorded works and they so much had the much more beautiful sets and with pink everywhere…what’s not to absolutely love! The heightened chorus of “Hare ame nochi suki♡” so sweetly performed with Aibon and Aichan hitting such lovely notes and as an ensemble every verse and melodic nuance as well so perfectly crafted and tuned.
~Morning Musume Sakuragumi “Sakura mankai” (music
Remember being so mesmerized by the traditional arrangement given a modern touch (love the sounds of the koto) as well as the fan choreography dance, and how it represented both power and grace here with a perfect balance…plus both of Sakuragumi’s singles were the prettiest of songs with wardrobes and backdrops complimenting perfectly, simply put, art in motion.
Sakuragumi’s follow up single “Sakura mankai” remains as what I consider to be one of H!P’s most aesthetically beautiful project to date still, and from their kimonos to the setting of the pv’s shoot, “Sakura mankai” presents an all too seldom used approach to Japanese music videos as it brings to life the traditional architecture of their country. I’ve always found the visuals of the location picked for this song’s pv to be wonderfully rooted in Japan’s culture and the build up to the visually explosive chorus shines with memorable choreography, falling cherry blossoms, and beautiful uchiwa “dance.”
And let’s not forget Gakisan’s hair styling for this pv, finally allowed to be let down…and without bangs it really gave her a very mature look way back then. ^-^
And one last thought about this production, I really love the closing of the pv where each member has to bite down on something….but Gakisan’s is the absolute best as I guess they ran out of props lol so all that was left to use was her hair =D.
It was just a few weeks after both Sakuragumi and Otomegumi had released their first (0f just two) singles that they were invited to appear on Utaban and the setting of two groups made for a natural stage set-up for a team vs. team atmosphere between them. Here with the original groups intact (prior to Nacchi graduating) Sakuragumi which was led by Nacchi included in addition the members Marippe, Yossi, Aibon, Aichan, Konkon, Gakisan & Kamei with Otomegumi which was led by Kaorin (@ Utaban= Johnson) including the members Rikachan, Nono, Makochan, Mikitty, Shigechan & Reina. And what could be better than hearing the girls dish the dirt on each other in game setting??, learning who’s smart and maybe not so much out of the bunch??, so let’s revisit this funny episode as we unzip yet another Utaban television gem♥!
Utaban, October 9th, 2003 (subtitled)
~Utaban (10/9/03) “Otomegumi vs. Sakuragumi”~
Tonight’s episode’s highlights~
It’s ironically humorous how Johnson is being ‘honored’ here as being Miss Utaban by way of herself having ‘appeared’ the most on the program till then through both physical being on set as well as images of her being utilized by the mischievous production team @ Utaban in opportune times (and there are many!!!).
In hindsight Taka-san realizes that he may have had a ‘chance’ to um…score a Musume girl while their recent travels to Hawaii had coincided =P!
Yossi is revealed to be a exhibitionist =O.
Rikachan often giggles at her own stories which aren’t funny O_o.
Voice changers are awesome no matter the occasion and as used here in Otomegumi’s battle against Sakuragumi it’s pure genius.
Oh the horror!!!!…Rikachan being compared to Kei (・д・`*)！！！Rikachan’s reaction here is beyond priceless…(^q^)!
Konkon thinks that Rikachan can be creepy (・o・).
Makochan’s tendency to leave her mouth open unknowingly has Taka-san on target to her.
Even with a voice manipulator the girls’ speech tendencies give themselves away more often than you’d imagine!
We learn of just how Konkon’s panties indeed do turn on* Makochan =D!
Remember the legendary Bakajo Tests? Well here Utaban has their very own unique ways and means of finding out who’s brainy and perhaps on the other end of the knowledge spectrum.
How it can be eye opening (or mouth gaping if you’re Makochan♥) asking idols factual questions where public humiliation is at risk =P.
Gakisan thinks that Napoleon looks like John Lennon (・o・).