At this rate, we’ll get to the #1 video in the year 2023 or so…
Coconuts Musume。 – Watashi mo “I LOVE YOU” (2000)
Tsunku / Tsunku / Kohno Shin / Sony Music Entertainment
This homage to the early 1990s era of pop music (oh, the colors! the sheer campiness!) displays a scene of chaos unfolding inside and outside a stationary school bus. But is this a scheduled rest stop or an emergency stop, forced by some sudden mechanical failure? Who knows? In any case, it seems the locals have gotten involved, and as the scene boils to the brink of catastrophe in the midst of mindless terpsichorean fervor, uninhibited proselytizing, and violent confrontation with a local law enforcement official, a strange order emerges, transcending the entropic nature of its beginnings and uniting our cast in a grand opus of unsurpassed proportions.
Either that or it’s trying to make a point about religious institutions, given the prominent “FUNDAMENTAL BAPTIST ACADEMY” adorning the side of the bus, but I can’t figure out exactly what point it’s trying to make.
Mini Moni。 – Mini Moni。 Telephone! Rin Rin Rin (2001)
Tsunku / Tsunku / Konishi Takao / zetima
A scathing critique of the dangers of technology in the modern age, this video explores the minds of today’s youth, hopelessly brainwashed by an abundance of gadgets that absorb their complete attention, rendering their perception of the physical world an amorphous, distorted landscape in which the appearance of their very surroundings has transformed into an artificial façade constructed of colorful clay. Any links our protagonists may once have had to the outside world, to family and friends, have since been severed, isolating them in a fantasy universe in which they are increasingly drawn into a narcissistic maelstrom by the irresistible allure of the cellular phone and the camera. The depths to which they have descended are uncovered by the shocking revelation of how our heroes pass their time: opening a cell phone to find imaginary miniature versions of themselves dancing across the buttons and screaming for attention. Indeed, the exponential duplication of their images strewn across a cosmic rainbow road may appear to us to exhibit merely a fanciful artistic gesture, but to the individuals represented, this irrational zombie army is but another facet of their everyday mindless existence, a pervasive hallucination that knows no bounds.
Matsuura Aya – Kiseki no Kaori Dance. (2004)
Tsunku / Tsunku / Suzuki Daichi Hideyuki / zetima
Matsuura takes on physics and—
I was tempted to say wins, but really … no one wins against physics, not even Ayaya.
But not to worry! This video admirably tackles relativity theory and in particular, illustrates the relativistic Doppler effect. In lieu of a full relativistic analysis, I’ll just say that for an observer moving at speeds close to the speed of light, the surrounding universe undergoes distortion: straight lines become curved, the apparent relative positions of objects change, and the frequency of light from different directions gets shifted. And here we see the effect in action, as the camera captures the spatial distortion and color shift that arise as Matsuura approaches the speed of light.
However, I must point out a possible error in the depiction. I’m not entirely sure about the details, but it does seem that the visual field (when looking at Matsuura head-on) is contracted toward the center, rather than expanded, and that the shift is in the direction of higher frequencies: a blueshift rather than a redshift. If this is the case (and it’s hard to tell for certain just from watching the video), the distortion is happening in the wrong direction. The view of everything behind Matsuura should be expanded and redshifted (see the animated diagram in the linked article above).
Nevertheless, one must commend the creators of this video for making an effort to depict the effects of relativity, even if the representation is not quite correct. It’s better to acknowledge the existence of relativity than to dismiss it as baloney. (Indeed, the notion of relativity was a revolutionary one and took a while to be accepted by the physics community. Einstein’s 1921 Nobel Prize, awarded 16 years after Einstein introduced special relativity, was explicitly given for his discovery of the photoelectric effect and not for special and general relativity.)
Either that or Matsuura is flying backward … which would be pretty impressive.
For a better idea of how things get distorted, I recommend riding the Relativistic Rollercoaster.
Odoru♥11 – Shiawase Kyouryuu Ondo (2002)
Tsunku / Tsunku / SHO-1 / zetima
This genre-bending, reality-defying post-structuralist extravaganza transcends any notion of a self-consistent narrative universe and plunges the viewer into a meta-performance of meta-spectacular meta-proportions. It’s a video of a theatrical performance delivered by a live cast for the benefit of a cartoon audience, interspersed with animated special effects that intrude upon the physical reality of the set … and some of these actually remain on the set, rather inexplicably. Add to that the conspicuous black attire of the four crew members holding up the moving set pieces (why yes, black is perfect camouflage for the backdrop’s profusion of color!), and you have a structural schism that challenges the mind. It breaks the fourth wall. It breaks the fifth wall! It erects a sixth wall out of cheap cardboard and punches a hole in it. At the heart of this epic drama is a trinity of unanswered questions: Who are the actors? Who is the audience? And why is the audience watching this performance at all?
Mini Moni。 – Mini Moni。 Kazoe Uta ~Ofuro Version~ (2003)
Tsunku / Tsunku / Takahashi Yuichi / zetima
Counting to 20 has never before been so exciting. And certainly, bathing is a perfect opportunity to rehearse the order of these precious integers. You might even ponder the set-theoretic construction of the natural numbers while you’re at it. Mmm…. Peano axioms …
And indeed, why stop at 20? The natural numbers are infinite! Countably infinite, even. There is no positive integer you won’t eventually reach if you start at 1 and count in increments of 1. (Counting the real numbers, on the other hand ….)
And is Tsuji doing the “Renai Revolution 21” dance?
Mini Moni。 – Mini Moni。 Kazoe Uta ~Date Version~ (2003)
Tsunku / Tsunku / Takahashi Yuichi / zetima
You know, these two were originally on the Countdown! as separate entries. But somewhere along the way, I discovered I had left out a few noteworthy videos, and having already started the Countdown!, I realized I had more videos than there were slots to hold them. Luckily, I also realized that a couple of videos were more highly ranked than they deserved to be, and so I quietly removed them from the list. Unfortunately, however, this still left me with one video too many, and alas, the pigeonhole principle must force two videos into the same slot. That, or make a cheap attempt to resort to zero-based indexing after the fact. So given the similarity between the two versions of “Mini Moni。 Kazoe Uta”, I decided to collapse the two videos into one, kind of. I like the Date Version a little more, so I’ll rank it a bit higher. :)
I think Kago steals the show in this one. Hilarity.
What, you say? 50.5 is not an integer?