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Momoiro Clover Z is an idol group consisting of five members
formed in 2008 under the agency Stardust Promotion, originally named Momoiro Clover and started with various member formations until they finally came up with 6 girls in their major debut. The group noted for their colour assigned
system for each member and their attempt to break the cute image of idols. Basically this idol group concept is an entire Take That
to the idol culture in Japan; they dance like crazy and have some unusual choreography, such as doing handsprings, cartwheels and awesome jumps
instead of lighthearted cute dances, wear strange costumes ranging from Sentai
outfits to wrestling masks
, shamelessly do some strange routines on TV (the komanechi dance
and weird faces among others), and continually do homages to other forms of subculture such as Professional Wrestling
, 80's Sketch Comedy
, and Toku
. As a result, they've gained attention and gradual popularity because of their uniqueness. Beginning as Street Performers
in Yoyogi Park
, they finally got a major debut in 2010 after releasing two indie singles. After their sub-leader's departure in April 2011, the group changed its name to Momoiro Clover Z. Now, their singles have topped the Japanese music charts, and they have performed in various prestigious music venues in Japan such as Nippon Budokan, Yokohama Arena, Saitama Super Arena, and have also done overseas performances in Germany, France and Malaysia.
The members can be easily distinguished by their Power Ranger-like colours (Red, Yellow, Pink, Green and ... Purple?
) and their unique 3 minutes introduction lines, are:
- Kanako Momota, The Cinderella from Tea Plantation, the Red, and, you guessed it, The Leader. Nicknamed for her hailing from Shizuoka, famous for its tea products, and noted for her excessive dimples (her pitfall of love) and wide forehead. One of the original members.
- Shiori Tamai, a.k.a Shiorin, Everyone's Little Sister, the Yellow. She is known for being easily driven to tears anywhere, and as such, gained the nickname Spoiled Crybaby. One of the original members.
- Ayaka Sasaki, a.k.a Ahrin, The Momoclo's Idol, the Pink, She is an idol between the idols themselves, nicknamed such for having the most idol-like personality, trying to be cute, sexy and modest all the time. The youngest member.
- Momoka Ariyasu, The Little Giant, the Green, noted for her high voice and being the shortest member. The last member to join the group, coming from a top class dance school.
- Reni Takagi, the Electric Girl, the Purple, known for her intense dances, as if she was being electrocuted, one of the original members and initially the leader.
Their ex-member is Akari Hayami
the Blue, originally the sub-leader nicknamed Momoclo's Cool Beauty
, left in April 2011. their ex-member at the time during pre-debut formation including Miyu Wagawa, Manami Ikura, Tsukina Takai (of SKE48), Sumire Fujishiro, Yumikawa Runa and Kashiwa Yukina (of Nogizaka46)
Momoiro Clover Z contains examples of:
- Alter Ego Acting: The group has three: UFI (Unfinished Fantastic Idol) with a slightly altered personality and name for each member, Momokuro-Tei Ichimon, introduced as mysterious singer for Joshiraku ending and Morifu!.
- Angel Face, Demon Face: The concept of the Saraba singles.
- Anime Theme Song: Naturally as a part of Star Child record label specializing in anime music, and once participating in Anime Music Festival, Animelo Summer Live.
- Bare Your Midriff: Averted and subverted, Momoiro Clover Z is one of the idol groups that hardly shows any sexiness in their costumes. The most revealing costume is Ahrin's (the self-proclaimed sexy one) in her solo song Datte Aarin Nanda Mon.
- Straighter examples were the Koko Natsu and Kono Uta costumes.
- Big Ol' Eyebrows: The signature look and charm point of Akari.
- Book Ends: Ano Sora is their first recorded song, and is performed in nearly all of their big concerts and final live concerts tour as part of the encore.
- Their first performance is on the streets of Yoyogi Park. Guess what the final spot of their very first national wide live tour was.
- Call Back / Continuity Nod: Done on the B-Side of their Rodou Sanka single, Santa-San. Near the end of song, they change the lyrics in the refrain into the lyrics to Koko Natsu, another B-Side single, due to the similarity in the chorus melodies, notably in the refrains. In the Music Videos, they've even burst in with Koko Natsu outfit, recording style and settings.
- The lyrics for Z Densetsu is a nod to their introductory line. The dance in Momoka's part also references a move that she often randomly does. They even referenced Akari's departure with the narrator announcing BLUE! and the group answering with a confused "ah?".
- The refrains of Akari graduation's song is taken from their first major debut single.
- Their overture is a remix of Kaito Shojo, Koko Natsu, Z Densetsu and Wani to Shampoo.
- Calling Your Attacks: In a fighting scene at Gokurakamon live.
- Catchphrase: We are the Idols that you can meet right now, The weekend heroines, Momoiro Clover Z! *
- Christmas Songs: Santa-san.
- Cool Mask: Just look at all of the promotional material for 5th Dimension.
- Cover Version: See Anime Theme Song above. They also did m.o.v.e's Words of the Mind.
- Cute Clumsy Girl: Momoka is the clumsiest out of all the girls. She even got the highest score in cuteness on one variety show just for being barely able to stand up after a long sit.
- Cute Mute: Momoka in every TV appearances and stages during her voice treatment in the early 2013.
- Cute Little Fangs: Kanako, Momoka, and Akari.
- Darker and Edgier: Their first theatrical movie, Shirome, is a horror movie. Also, in the 2010 movie Shuumin Police, they briefly appear as Delinquents carrying a rake, whip, baseball bat, pipe and pickaxe!
- The Kimi to Sekai Music Video.
- Early Installment Weirdness: Literally averted in this case; they were normal girls during the pre-major single times, with normal outfits, dances, lyrics and songs just like yet another idol group.
- Epic Instrumental Opener: The Overture.
- Even the Girls Want Her: The girls are popular among Japanese girls. They've even held an annual women-only concert called Onna Matsuri*. In the 2012 concert in Budokan, they've gained audiences of freaking 10,000 women.
- Five-Man Band
- Fangirl: They're fangirls of another idol group, S/mileage of Hello! Project.
- Fanservice: The Kaitou Shojo Music video.
- Forehead of Doom: Kanako's pride.
- Genki Girl: ALL OF THEM!
- Girlish Pigtails: Shiori often had these before her haircut in Battle and Romance era.
- Girl Group: Naturally, but they're not just your average idol group.
- Gratuitous English: Akari's introduction: "My smile will change the world. You decide my future. Can't stop". What?
- Hey, It's That Guy!: If you're Japanese, you will utter this line every time you watch their live concert.
- Homage: Lots.
- Some to Super Sentai. The single Z Densetsu aims for this; they're wearing henshin belts, striking a Super Sentai Stance, having the yellow one as a Big Curry Eater (she actually is), and a scene parodying cyborg brainwashing trends in old tokusatsu shows.
- Every single of their big live concert is announced and narrated in a fashion similar to Professional Wrestling matches. Their manager is a big fan of pro wrestling; the most blatant homage is in their first album title, "Battle and Romance", named from a Japanese wrestling promotion, "Wrestling And Romance" (WAR).
- The Chai Maxx pose is homage to Keiji Mutoh's, a professional wrestler, signature pose, also Reni is shown dressed as Danpei, the coach from Ashita no Joe in this boxing themed Music Video.
- The music video of Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujou shows the girls fighting an obvious Expy of a Kamen Rider Mook, Shocker Combatant.
- Morifu! is an homage to an 80’s comedy group called Drift (Dorifu in Japan). Some dance parts in this song and Chai Maxx also borrowed from them.
- The Otome Sensou outfits? YES!! THAT'S Mobile Suit Gundam ZAKU II!! Although it's been stated that the costume was based on wrestling duo The Road Warriors, it more resembles Zaku, especially that pipe thingy.
- The song Kuroi Shuumatsu is a homage to its English translation, Black Sabbath, with their notable heavy metal songs. Reni even copied Tony Iommi’s coughing from the beginning of Sweet Leaf song.
- Male singer group Kishidan, being fans of the group, made a single song entirely as an homage to them.
- Hurricane of Puns: In Wani to Shampoo. Also a trademark in many Hyadain songs, such as Mirai Bowl.
- I Have Many Names: Momoiro Clover, Momoiro Clover Z, Momokuro, Momoclo, MomokuroZ, MCZ, Momokuro-chan
- Lady of War: Literally, Otome Sensou.
- Let's Duet: Their duet song, Kanako and Akari, Kanako and Shiori, Reni and Momoka and all of them are Call And Response Songs.
- They have done several collaborative performances with other artists, such as Tokyo Girls Style and miwa.
- Lucky Charms Title: Koko Natsu and Mitte Mitte Kocchihi are both stylized with stars in their names.
- List Song: Momoclo no Nippon Manzai! lists all 47 prefectures in Japan along with each region speciality. Of course, the Kansai Regional Accent is also played with in this song.
- Make a Wish: Their only dream back in their days as street performers was to appear in the Japanese New Year Eve music show, Kohaku, and in 2012, they finally got it.
- Meaningful Release Date: Rodo Sanka, or Labor Hymn, a single about working labor, is released in November 23, which is the Labor Thanksgiving Day in Japan.
- Meaningful Rename: They renamed the group by adding Z right after Akari's graduation concert. This is explained as Z being a form of revolution for the group, and they will never be same without her.
- Mentor: Kawakami, as their manager, is portrayed as one. He often pushed their backs before shows.
- Music for Courage: Rodo Sanka, as mentioned above, is dedicated to labor workers. PUSH! is one as well.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: An Indian, sailor, boxer, angel, demon, pokemon, and DRUNK OLD MAN!
- Ominous Latin Chanting: More like Ominous Japanese chanting in Mouretsu and NEO STARGATE.
- "OPEN THE GATE, OPEN YOUR SOUL"
- One Of The Kids: Tamai, according to her.
- Overly-Long Name: The full title of Mouretsu is "Mouretsu Uchuu Koukyouku Dai Nana Gakushou: Mugen no Ai"*.
- Playground Song: Mite Mite Kocchichi. The lyrics are even written entirely in Kana.
- Puni Plush: Ayaka.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Kanako and Akarin are real best friends, to the extent that they have their own combination nickname, Dekomayu. Also serves as Tomboy and Girly Girl.
- Rerelease the Song: Their first major debut, Kaitou Shojo, got a 2012 special rerelease.
- Other examples can be found on the Battle and Romance album. They re-recorded Kaitou Shojo, Mirai Bowl, and Pinky Jones, this time without Akarin's voice.
- Running Gag: Reni's weird face.
- School Uniforms are the New Black/Kimono Is Traditional: Their original concept and pre-major debut outfits were a mix of kimonos and school skirts, without any colour differences for each members.
- Shout Out: Their catchphrase, "We are the idols that you can meet RIGHT NOW!" is a parody of AKB48's promotional concept, "Idols that you can meet".
- Silly Love Song: As is the standard formula for idol songs. Even though they’re famous for many hilarious songs, they can’t escape this. Hashire! is one of the earliest examples, and Mouretsu is a love song, in space!.
- Singer Name Drop: Becomes a Stealth Pun in Pinky Jones; as a Japanese name can have multiple meanings, they make their names a part of the lyrics.
- A bit of a variation in Mirai Bowl and Mouretsu, as the member color drop.
- Played straight in Kaitou Shojo, Z Densetsu, Momoclo no Nippon Manzai, Morifu, and their No Fourth Wall solo and duet songs.
- Singing Voice Dissonance: Momoka. She's even noted by the others as the one with the husky voice.
- Spiritual Successor: Both idol groups Shiritsuu Ebitsu Chuugaku and Team Syachihoko are officially regarded as their younger sister groups. Team Syachihoko were more obvious, since they have the whole color code system.
- The group is actually one to their agency's early attempt to idol group field, Harajuku Launchers (a.k.a Angel Eyes). These days, Angel Eyes has become the name of their official fan club.
- Surreal Music Video: Space Pirates in Bicycles!, Glowing Eyes!, AND KAMEHAMEHA!
- Talkative Loon: All of them.
- Title Theme Tune: Z Densetsu, as a nod to 80's anime and tokusatsu series theme songs. "WE ARE MOMOIRO CLOVEEEER! ZEEEEEEEEEEE!"
- Up to Eleven: A drastic departure from their concept prior to their major debut.
- Widget Series: Well... yeah.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Besides Akari, who is now a high profile fashion model and actress, many of their ex-members have not been seen in the entertainment industry.
- Why Did It Have to Be a Mystery Box?: Momoka is afraid of the mystery box game.
- Younger Than They Look: Ayaka is the tallest and bustiest of all member, yet she is the youngest of the group.