Countdown! The Top 100 Hello! Project PVs


After a three-month hiatus, the Countdown continues! And you thought I’d abandoned it!


Mini Moni。 – Mini Moni。 Jankenpyon! (2001)
Tsunku / Tsunku / Konishi Takao / zetima

In addition to being Rivers Cuomo’s introduction to J-pop, this single put Mini Moni on the map as one of H!P’s most successful and influential acts to date. The video is pure madcap pandemonium and features interstellar hijinks, bovine lactation, various veggies, a creepy black-clad adversary (named W?), and some philosophical meditation on the merits and pitfalls of simultaneous symmetric zero-sum games. As much attention has already been given to the history and mathematics of jankenpon, I don’t need to dwell on it, but Mini Moni offers an interesting take on this classic game, combining it with a Japanese children’s game involving red and white flags, though I can’t seem to find any info on it other than this post by Celestia at Bikkuri Project. This combination could potentially establish a binary relation (rock beats scissors, scissors beats paper, paper beats rock—but only if your color matches your opponent’s; otherwise, the opposite relations hold), making the Cartesian product {rock, paper, scissors} × {red, white} a six-element commutative magma. Also, I find the unorthodox spelling of NY-Maket rather amusing.


Country Musume。 ni Ishikawa Rika (Morning Musume。) – Hajimete no Happy Birthday! (2001)
Tsunku / Tsunku / Takahashi Yuichi / zetima

This classic PV is a throwback to an earlier era of filmmaking, complete with a moon scene reminiscent of the Golden Age of science fiction and plenty of bizarre and random silliness, not to mention the priceless expressions on the chef’s face. (Mmmmm…. strawberries…) The overexposed appearance of the video also gives it a nice retro feeling.


Tsukishima Kirari starring Kusumi Koharu (Morning Musume。) – Balalaika (2006)
BULGE / Sako Shigeki / Sako Shigeki / zetima

Everyone’s favorite energetic bundle of extreme returns in a semiotic flurry of stars, moons, hearts, and circles to unleash an epic tale of magic, illusions, deception, and quantum teleportation, and illuminates (pun maybe intended?) the role of measurement in the decoherence of elements in a quantum superposition.

Also, the juxtaposition of star and moon presents an astronomical anomaly, albeit a consistent one, positing a star visible in front of a partially illuminated crescent moon. The anomaly is that the moon is larger than the star, though this size difference is possible for, say, a neutron star with a 10-20 km radius and Earth’s Moon with a 1737 km radius; it’s consistent because the points of the star actually do appear in front of the moon. Unfortunately, the national flags of Algeria, Pakistan, and the Comoros do not have such a saving feature to indicate that the stars depicted are of an unusual size and are appearing in front of the moon. One is left to assume that the stars in these flags are indeed distant and yet somehow able to shine through the unilluminated part of the moon. (Turkey’s flag escapes this fate, but just barely.) I won’t comment on the actual shapes of the crescents and stars in any of these depictions.


Minihamuzu (Uta: Mini Moni。) – Mirakururun Grand Purin! (2003)
Tsunku / Tsunku / Takahashi Yuichi / zetima

Fast-paced craziness from the Minihamuzu, against a visually stunning backdrop full of twists, turns, and other topological mind-bogglers … (Mmmmm, Möbius strips …) I suppose one would be correct in describing this topological tapestry as a Mini Moni Manifold.


Country Musume。 ni Konno to Fujimoto (Morning Musume。) – Uwaki na Honey Pie (2003)
Tsunku / Tsunku / Morio Takashi / zetima

Country Musume and Friends tackle some hardcore physics in this evocative video portraying wave-particle duality, among other topics. The tennis ball is obviously a particle, yet its shock waves are highlighted as discrete rings, characteristic of a wave exhibiting periodic peaks. This duality shows up all over the place, including the actors themselves, who diffract into several copies upon coming into contact with the ball, thus not only reinforcing the de Broglie hypothesis that all matter exhibits wave-particle duality, but also dramatically portraying multiple-slit diffraction (the ball can be thought of as passing through the surface of a tennis racket, which consists of many slits; in fact it passes through all of the slits at once, each part then interfering with the other parts to create the characteristic intensity pattern of alternating light and dark bands, symbolized here by the splitting of each actor’s image into lighter copies spaced at regular intervals). Relativity is also examined through the constant shifting of reference frames as well as the scrolling backdrop and arrow strip (denoting a time dimension perhaps?), and the rectangular grid design of the floor and ceiling. Some effort is also made to show the effects of time dilation and length contraction when Lorentz-transforming to the ball’s reference frame. And to cap it all off (pun maybe intended?), the ball’s smacking Konno in the head at the end is a nice demonstration of Compton scattering, with the ball clearly losing some energy in the process, as exhibited by its loss in momentum (energy and momentum being related, of course, in the “full”, relativistic version of Einstein’s famous formula, E^2 = m^2c^4 + p^2c^2 [E is energy; m is mass; p is momentum; and c is the speed of light]).

I haven’t seen this much physics in an H!P PV since Futari wa NS. And people ask me why I like Hello! Project so much. Really, all this wonderful unabashed nerdiness!! How could you not love H!P???