Morning Musume Help me!! Dance Shot PV Review

Set for release on 23rd January 2013, Help me!! is something of a Return of the Jedi for the recent trilogy of electropop tinged Morning Musume releases.

In the early hours of the morning on 22nd December, the song’s Dance Shot specific PV was uploaded to the group’s YouTube channel, reaching views of over 97,000 in less than 24 hours. There is no doubt that expectation is high and that once more, like Return of the Jedi, this song features a sort amount of reordering necessary to bring one era to a close and set the tone for the next stage.

Featuring both 6th generation star, Reina Tanaka and 11th generation newcomer, Sakura Oda as the centre around which both the song and choreography of the dance are based around, Help me!! is a welcome continuation of established themes.

The members are dressed in garish yet charming costumes comprised of pink and leopard print, the stage – decorated as a city background alternating in darkness during the verses and illumination during the chorus – is a nice gimmick, and the movement is both kinetic and swift of pace.

The difficulty however lies in the fact that the video is also disjointed, hastily edited around segments that are later intended to replace portions revealed here.

Following the problems surrounding the release of promotional videos of Wakuteka Take a Chance due to 10th generation member Ayumi Ishida suffering from an ankle sprain and failing to appear in the ‘temporary’ Dance Shot PV, it is surprising to find that more care was not lavished upon the presentation of the video.

The actual choreography presented within the video appears to draw heavily on the style of the previous two singles, perhaps even a little too heavily.

Arranged by returning choreographer, Yoshiko, the swaying of arms at the elbow, the marching on the spot and the sliding forward of one member to reveal another behind her are recognisable traits of both Wakuteka Take a Chance and One Two Three.

This is by no means a bad thing, after all the choreography was one of the strongest elements of the previous two singles – so much so that even the incomplete PV for Wakuteka Take a Chance is inspiring, whilst Sakura Oda‘s solo presentation of the dance is nothing short of the perfect showcase for her skills.

The difference here is that the movements do not seem as fluid as before.

What is on show in Help me!! is merely a further presentation of the now familiar style, the moves a reminder of the present direction of the group and what it is that has culminated in the release of this single.

Like the actual song itself, this is not actually bad. Help me!! does a wonderful job of showing a group in the process of change. Yet perhaps it is because there is less discomfort having begun the process of achieving their goals with the release of One Two Three that Help me!! falls a little flat at times.

The past is no longer an ever present shadow cast over the group’s future, there is life after Love Machine after all.

This is a blessing and a curse.

It will be interesting to view the complete promotional video once work has been finished and to return to compare and contrast it with the Dance Shot, yet right now, there is only the sense that having started afresh, the upcoming single is perhaps not as inventive as its predecessors.

The trouble with the Star Wars analogy of course is that this means that Wakuteka Take a Chance is The Empire Strikes Back and that by accepting this, we must all agree without doubt that it is easily the best of the three recent singles.

It is.

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