Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sexy PV Week: v-u-den

Previously on Sexy PV Week, I took a look at gravure idol G☆Girls Tik tok PV. In contrast, today's sexy PV is by not a gravure idol group but an actual idol group. A trio to be exact. A trio from an agency that many an idol blogger is familiar with. That's right, Hello! Project fans, get excited because today we're looking at v-u-den! Or Biyuden. Look, it's that group with Ishikawa Rika in it, okay?

I can't believe I almost forgot about flipping v-u-den, the sexiest subgroup to ever emerge from H!P. Actually... I think they're the only sexy subgroup to ever emerge from H!P. But still! Flat-out fanservice is rather uncommon for an agency like H!P but v-u-den is just about as fanservice-y as you can get. With Rika's charm, Erika's figure and Yui's... boobs, this group was H!P fanservice at its most blatant. Now I will admit, that v-u-den was pretty before my time as a Hello! Project fan; the group had been disbanded for over two years by the time I got into the H!P fandom. In fact, I didn't even really found much out about them until mid-2011 when I started looking up old H!P groups like Mini Moni and Tanpopo. And even, then v-u-den has never been my favorite H!P unit that honor goes to Tanpopo but that's off topic. I think one of the main reasons I've never been into v-u-den was that I wasn't really drawn to any of the members of the group and it felt more like a Rika-headlined group with the other two girls in the background. Hell, v-u-den was formed to be a group that Rika could work with after she graduated from Morning Musume.

So in 2004, H!P auditioner Miyoshi Erika and H!P Egg Okada Yuki joined Rika in this new group and they debuted! Ironically, their first few singles weren't all that sexy but pretty normal for H!P. It wasn't until Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin and its Playboy Bunny costumes that v-u-den started getting hotter and sexier. They released two more equally sexy singles and finally their more conservative final single before disbanding in 2008. The group was then revived as Zoku v-u-den with new members for a shuffle album from H!P but the revival was nowhere near as sexy as the original. I mean come on, you had Michishige Sayumi, Junjun and Sugaya Risako in the new v-u-den. That ain't the original v-u-den. Today, I'm looking at the old v-u-den though and their 2007 PV Jajauma Paradise. I actually was torn between that PV and Aisu Kuriimu to My Purin but I realized that there was more I could talk about in the Jajauma Paradise PV.

But how does the song itself hold up? I'll be honest, I have always found Jajauma Paradise to be a weird song. I haven't listened to it in ages, but listening to the song again made me remember how weirded out I was by it when I first listened to it. I just... the musical choices, the lyrical choices and the vocals all seem so baffling to me. Take Rika. As per tradition with v-u-en, she's pretty much leading the song with Yui and Erika on minor vocals and the voice she uses for the song is absolutely odd. Rika breaks out that "cutesy" voice that's squeakier and breathier and not only does it sound bad, it sounds weird. Erika and Yui sound fine but as I said, Rika sings more solos than they do so you hear her weird vocals more. And then the music itself is also weird; the opening starts out well with kind of this James Bond-ish sound. But the instrumental from there gets weirder and weirder.

I hear so many different styles of music crammed into this PV from the flamenco-esque background in the vocals to the string-filled instrumental opening. I wouldn't call them bad choices but together, they're just weird. But the crowning moment of what-the-fuckery is the instrumental bridge. I just... I don't even know how to describe it. It sounds like an Native American battle cry interpreted by a teenage girl; that's the best description I can think of. Speaking of history, the lyrics are also another weird element to Jajauma Paradise, mainly because of the language barrier. I'm sure in Japanese, these lyrics make more sense but god, are they weird in the translation. The talks about rodeo boys, and difficult women, and Adam and Eve and it sounds like a lyrical clusterfuck. So overall, the weirdness of Jajauma Paradise kind of takes away my enjoyment of the song. It isn't the worst song in the world, just weird, but it'll never be a song I would have on my iPod, let alone buy.

Still, v-u-den wasn't exactly known for their innovative, awe-inspiring music and we've got a screencap to get to. So let's take a look at the third sexy PV of Sexy PV Week and bask in v-u-den's sexiness!

Man, these sexy PVs sure are fond of that red/black color scheme huh?

FREEZE! The v-u-den girls are arresting you for not being sexy!

A wild Rika appears from the floor!

And here comes Yui who frankly does a better job at looking sexy than Rika!

Wow! This isn't just fanservice! It's fanservice with INSTAGRAM!

...do back shots count as fanservice too?

Wait a minute... what the hell does Rika have on her left boob?

It looks like a fake tattoo I'd think was cool in elementary school.

Yui's got quite the um... assets, doesn't she?

Wow, Erika's adorable!

Oh Rika, I know you're trying but sex appeal is not one of your strong suits.

Ah, there's our cheap H!P dance shot set! I was wondering when that would come in...

Why in the hell do the girls have fur pellets on their costumes? Did they slaughter a skunk or something?

But it's the pelvic thrust... that really drives you insaaaaane - sorry.

Man, for an H!P PV, there's a lot fanservice in it.

And then there's Rika's tramp stamp. Remind me again why they felt the need to include that?

Blegh! These clothes aren't sexy enough for me!

Don't pay attention to her! Pay attention to me and my sexeh hair!!!


I highly doubt anyone's paying attention to your new necklace, Yui.

It only took me thirty minutes to paint my big toenail!

Look! I has a butt!!

Oh hey, it's perfume! And for once I'm not talking about the totally amazing techno trio I constantly fangirl over!

Maybe v-u-den's supposed to be sexy cowgirls since the song talks about rodeos and whatnot...

Or maybe they're supposed to be sexy kung fu fighters!

Take notice, Tsugunaga Momoko, this is how you do the SEXY pinky!

And now it's time for the interpretive dancing part of the PV!

Ah, the glittery stuff raining down on them takes me back to Glitter...

Only Glitter wasn't quite as sexy as Jajauma Paradise!

And now we're back from the strange dance break with more fanservice!

Oh my god, Rika's spazzing out XD

Well, that was a shitty jump.

Hi fives all around for our sexy PV!

Here, have you some Yui eye-candy to finish the PV!

...I guess v-u-den got lost in the river of curtains. Bye!

Maybe there's a reason that H!P hasn't created a group like v-u-den again especially considering the ages of most girls in H!P now are under the age of 20. Okay, I guess if you wanted to stretch you could count Berryz Koubou's WANT! PV as sexy but that doesn't hold a candle to Jajauma Paradise or v-u-den. And GAM was pretty fanservice-y with Miki and Aya getting it on, but they were before v-u-den's time. I mean wow, I know that idol groups, H!P included, incorporate fanservice but I have never seen it look so blatant in any of their previous PVs. I mean seriously, the fanservice is Jajauma Paradise is everywhere. More than half the PV consists of body shots of the girls in their ridiculously slutty dance costumes. And I have to admit, I'm kind of 50/50 on the costumes especially with some of the choices made. Like the fur pelts and cowboy boots with the bikini tops. It just seems like a bad combination of clothes. 

So I think I could divide this fanservice PV up into two sections: the blatant fanservice and the innocent fanservice. Naturally, the blatant fanservice is any time you see the girls in the red and black costumes pelvic thrusting and showing everything they can in the dance shot and a few of the close-ups. Then there's the innocent fanservice which is whenever the girls are wearing the sexy pink pajamas and just doing girly stuff like going through clothes, putting on makeup, drying their hair, etc. Okay, the fanservice in this part isn't terribly innocent but compared to the more blatant fanservice, the girls might as well be wearing nun outfits. I actually think I like the innocent fanservice parts better because they just look more fun and it doesn't feel like a try-hard attempt to be sexy. In contrast, I feel like the black/red shots are trying way too hard to generate sex appeal and the end result is kind of awkward. Obviously, if you're into that (which I assume many people are) then you'll be on board with it. Personally, it's a little awkward for me to watch.

I think another key element of how sexy this PV can be are the girls themselves. And the results are mixed. Let me go ahead and say that I think Rika absolutely fails at looking sexy in this PV. Okay, I know that Rika's trying with all her heart to look sexy but sexiness is something that doesn't really work for her, at least in my opinion. It's almost as if she's trying too hard to be sexy so the result is really awkward. Or maybe there's just something about Rika's face that prevents me from every taking her seriously. It's probably because the clips I've seen of her are usually when she's pulling her "Charmy" persona; it's kind of like why I can't take Amanda Seyfried seriously in any movies after I saw her in Mean Girls. Erika looks pretty adorable but doesn't try anywhere near as hard as Rika does to look sexy. Then again, maybe that's not a bad thing because she still looks very adorable. And there are a few shots where she stares lustily at the camera or does a cutely sexy pose. 

And then there is Yui. Oh my god, I completely forgot about how gorgeous Yui is. Even not acknowledging her... bountiful chest, Yui is a very pretty girl and she looks so photogenic on the camera. She actually manages to make those hideously fanservice-y outfits look halfway decent. Her face is expressive and she looks so natural on the camera; it's like she doesn't even half to try to look appealing. And yeah, she looks very sexy in this video partially because of the camera work but also because she just has the body and the looks for it. She's pretty but not in a slutty way; still, I can see now why people say the best thing about v-u-den was Yui's boobs. I almost wish I saw more of Yui post-v-u-den disbandment because I think I would like her a lot. But oh well. Like many other H!P groups v-u-den is gone with the wind and is probably never coming back. And no, Zoku v-u-den does not count. Although the fanservice can get really over-the-top and blatant in Jajauma Paradise, I can't help but acknowledge H!P doing something really fanservice-y.

So overall, on my Sexy Apple Rating System, I'll give v-u-den's Jajauma Paradise four Perfume!legs. The song is weird and not one of my favorites but no one's going to pay attention to the song when watching the PV. The fanservice in Jajauma Paradise is loaded to the point where it's overwhelming but it does give the viewer a ton of eye-candy. Particularly from Yui. But that's beside the point. And if you're curious to see a sexier side of H!P, then I'd check out v-u-den. Or GAM. But GAM didn't make it to Sexy PV Week.

And to think this is only the third sexy PV! It makes you wonder what other PVs are more over-the-top than Jajauma Paradise, huh? Well stay tuned because we still have four more days of sexy PVs to comb through!

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