Into the Golden Era!
The Aesthetics of a Producer
Tsunku♂: “Morning Coffee” was a success based purely on cuteness. Up to “Daite HOLD ON ME,” Morning Musume had been a successful idol group among males as well as the female viewers of ASAYAN. There were some difficult times after that, but thanks to “LOVE Machine” I could now see what it was that I needed to do. Office ladies, grandpas, grandmas, children — everyone liked Morning Musume. They had become successful. FM radio, cable radio, karaoke — every day you could hear the support for the group. It made me happy.
Now then, here’s where it gets interesting…
— The momentum immediately spurred you into creating a new unit: Pucchimoni.
Tsunku♂: People calling Abe the “mother ship of Morning Musume” now felt only like a fleeting moment in memory. Goto had arrived. The group was gaining in popularity fast with Goto in the center of it all. By the time her summer vacation ended, Goto had already changed her hair — she was back to being a normal, black-haired junior high schooler. I decided to create a new unit with Goto, the focus of everyone’s attention; Ichii, who was as dazzling as always; and Yasuda, who was plain but happy-go-lucky.
When the main group is doing well it suddenly starts to feel like it might be dangerous to try out certain things with it, and so my thinking was that I could get away with trying those things if it was a sub-unit instead. If Morning Musume was curry rice, then Pucchimoni was like the pickled onion on the side. In my mind, the way I saw it at the time was similar to Mazinger Z and its small pilders — they’re usually together, but the pilders can also operate by themselves. (Though don’t ask me what Mazinger Z gets up to during that time. (laughs)) But it was because of “LOVE Machine” coming first that “Chokotto LOVE” could materialize — both the music and the music video.