Shuffling Along

So as a recent convert to H!P I was interested to see that there were shuffle units. The closest thing we’d have in the UK is maybe a collaboration between two groups but regularly mixing up members of several different groups? Interesting. However I found that the standard wasn’t too high. The less said about 3nin Matsuri and 10nin Matsuri the better (although 7nin Matsuri’s Summer Reggae Rainbow at least has a reggae beat to keep you entertained). Salt5 & 7Air didn’t do much for me either (although again 11Water’s Be All Right! had a good enough tune to keep you listening. Still a bit lightweight though). However take just Morning Musume members, split them into a slow group and a faster youthful spirited group, call them Sakura Gumi and Otome Gumi and you have a hit. Four great singles between them with my favourite being Sakura Mankai…just. I managed to get the dvd single for Sakura Mankai and Yuujou thanks to ebay and wow. Sakura Mankai is an absolutely beautiful song with a video to match. Plus you get two versions of the video to boot. At the same time the punkier Yuujou ~Kokoro no Busu niwa Naranee! is a great counterweight. Catchy, punky and full of Iida goodness and Reina punkiness it’s a really good song. That’s not to ignore the earlier singles Hare Ame Nochi Suki and Ai no Sono ~ Touch My Heart!~ which are good songs too (and sold more). Even so it’s Sakura Mankai that has really grabbed me.

The video has a traditional Japanese theme with kimono’s aplenty. Now I will admit having a weakness for that kind of look but in general I prefer short skirts and tight tops. Ahem. Regardless, the members look wonderful. Takahashi Ai is a beautiful woman but the opening scene of the video just leaves me breathless. Has she ever looked more stunningly gorgeous? If so please tell me where and I’ll arrange to have some oxygen on standby when I look. But Ai is just the first. This splinter group also has the wonderful Yaguchi, kawaii Konno and the sexiest tomboy ever Yossie (looking ladylike and boyish at the same time which is quite some feat). The beautiful video is more than matched by the song and combined it’s a few minutes of perfection.

But if you are in a more energetic mood then enter Otome Gumi. I can’t in all honesty say the style of song suits Charmy or Miki and it’s surprising that Iida was in the faster more energetic group. However I’m glad she was because her performance in the video (along with Reina’s) really makes the video. I think Iida has a beatiful nonchalance to her (and to her look). It’s in the eyes. It actually suits the song which considering the speed of the music is quite interesting. Iida always seems to have good poise within but her sometimes sardonic nature actually suits this kind of music and in the end the combination of the two means a member who I’d have thought belonged in the slower tempo group actually has something about her that really stands out in the faster group. She’s beautiful, poised but with a youthful irreverence. Then there’s Reina. Oh beautiful sexy Reina. My lust interest in MM. Straight of the bat you’d say this music is made for her. This is someone who has the yankee image and youthfulness to pull it off and by god she does. Spirited and fun, she really helps make this a video to remember. These two members really do the business here.

So impressed was I with these two splinter groups that I’ve put a bid in on ebay for a concert dvd of Sakura Gumi’s and I’m watching an auction for the Otome Gumi concert dvd. Here’s hoping. Why couldn’t all the shuffles have been this good?

Otome Sakura


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