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 Post subject: Seirei Shôjotai
PostPosted: October 6th, 2008, 7:43 pm 
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Also titled "Elemental Girls", and written 精霊少女隊 in Japanese.

It's a live-action Sentai show, featuring a bunch of bikini models in the lead roles, namely
Aoshima Akina (21yo, 160 cm, 87-58-86),
Inagaki Mika (22yo, 156 cm, 86-57-85),
Tsugihara Kana (24yo, 158 cm, 87-60-88),
Nakajima Airi (18yo, 157 cm, 84-58-88), and
Nakamura Miu (17yo, 157 cm, 83-54-83).
(data from here.)

The story goes like this:
15 years ago, two highschool girls, Airi and Mika, discovered a mysterious message in a storage room of their school. They were surprised by a teacher, and for some reason unknown to me, decided to run for it. Turning around the next corner they disappeared in a blue flash.
Today, Miu has rediscovered the message, written with a pencil on a wooden crate, which says, like, the planet was a living being, currently being wasted by human irresponsibility, and had to be saved by those dedicated by fate or something. "Incidentally" she meets Akina and Kana in the respective room, as well as a teacher, Mr. Nakajima.

An alien and hostile force emerges and takes posession of some of the school staff. Nakajima seems to be a trained martial artist, but cannot stand against the onslaught, and the girls get their butts handed to them. Well, until inspiration hits them, so to speak. Airi and Mika, for another reason unknown to me, return to this world and break the seal of the "gate". A voice from the off tells all of them to "awaken", and thus the defeated girls receive energy, regain their senses, transform using their cell phones, and battle the enslaved staff members. No need to say they save the day.

Actually, I was hoping for a series of sorts, but after checking several websites it turned out it was a one-shot to promote the models. Too bad, actually, because it might have been interesting to watch.
Some, maybe most, of the acting is not convincing, but sometimes it's indeliberately funny due to the lack of talent (they are bikini models after all, and not actresses).
Comparing it to the SailorMoon drama of 2003/2004 I'd say the stunts are way better. The fights actually look like fights and not like gym class exercises, plus the five "Elemental Girls" don't use these ridiculous "Ha!" noises when they do anything quickly.
And since we are talking about Gravure models (as opposed to the Sailor Senshi, at least half of whom are fashion models), it turns out a little more sexy than the comparison. The Senshi suits are two-pieces that don't hide the belly, the skirts are, as you can see in the picture, only alibis of skirts, and some of the moves are deliberately exposing. :D

If it wasn't for the well-bred legs, school uniforms, and skimpy outfits you might actually say this show has a green message, about how you should recycle and save CO2 and stuff, but it's very obvious that the foremost purpose is advertising and promotion.

On a sidenote, the sponsor is a company named "Megane Ichiba", which means it sells eyeglasses.

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 Post subject: Re: Seirei Shôjotai
PostPosted: January 11th, 2010, 3:34 am 
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i have not watched the show, but i must say those outfits are NOT flattering. the model's agents dropped the ball on that one. the images scream cheap porn. :(


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 Post subject: Re: Seirei Shôjotai
PostPosted: January 12th, 2010, 7:26 pm 
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dbd_addict wrote:
i have not watched the show, but i must say those outfits are NOT flattering. the model's agents dropped the ball on that one. the images scream cheap porn. :(

Seeing it from a western perspective you are certainly not wrong, but let me tell you: This is relatively (!) decent and compares to the usual Gravure Idol DVD (that gives you more outfits).
Yes, I have seen the more indecent stuff, and some of the totally indecent stuff.
Seirei Shôjotai is still a good distance away from soft porn because while it is sexy it does not feature THE POSES. It's not lascivious. At least not in comparison to the lower levels of perfectly legal Japanese entertainment. It's just a bit more sexy that the run-of-the-mill magical girl show.

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 Post subject: Re: Seirei Shôjotai
PostPosted: January 14th, 2010, 6:45 pm 
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haha, ya, it is definitely "relatively" decent. the designs are just terribly ugly and cheap.
do you know what age group they are targeting? i have watched some japanese tv and sometimes i am clueless who the hell they are trying to appease.

one time i visited a girlfriend's parent's house and her dad was watching a children's show. like something with 5-6 year old's dancing and singing dressed in costume. her mother told me that he likes watching these shows. perhaps it was the language barrier but the way she said it it was just strange.


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 Post subject: Re: Seirei Shôjotai
PostPosted: January 15th, 2010, 7:08 pm 
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dbd_addict wrote:
do you know what age group they are targeting?

I can't say whether this was an easy or a difficult question... let me see...
First, a general comment:
The ranger and magical girl shows are often watched by a very young target audience.
When I watched SailorMoon ten years ago I guessed that the target audience must be about ten to twelve years old, maybe even young teens. Researching Anime magazines by that time affirmed my opinion - at least in German fan circles.
With internet for everybody and e-mail just appearing at the horizon, looking for pen-pals was a fad at the time, so people would write a text like
"My name is (...), I am XX years old, I'm a fan of these series: 1)... 2)... 3)..."
I checked all these ads in Animania issues of 1999 and found that SailorMoon fans were either underage females (up to 15 years of age, with a few older specimen) or adult males in their early 20s.

With that sort of opinion I went to Japan and was shocked to find an embarrassing truth:
Japanese SailorMoon fans were for the most part girls under the age of eight.
The first hints came from the advertising that ran during the break of the SailorMoon live-action drama. All the SailorMoon-related merchandising was presented in sizes for young grade schoolers. That was a sort of eye-opener, along with the fact that I was unable to get any Anime-related bed linen/bed clothes in a size suitable to an adult, with the exception of special stores in downtown Tokyo. But I became very sure about SailorMoon's target group when I watched "Kirari Super Live", a SailorMoon live show in Yomiuri Hall, Tokyo. The audience was filled with very little girls and their mothers (and some fathers). That came as a sort of shock to me.
And the same can be said about the ranger shows, the only difference being that the fans are male. But the low age remains a fact.

Now a more specific comment considering what "Seirei Shôjotai", as I said in the first post, actually is.
As I said in my description this is not primarily a magical girl show, first of all it's a Gravure Idol product. An entertaining one for a change, if I may say so, because Gravure videos are usually rather dull. They show you the girl in question in the usual outfits (school uniform, school swim suit, bikini, school gym dress, and casual dress), how she moves and smiles from different angles with different backgrounds at different locations, some titles show panties, some don't, and the only really interesting parts can be the interviews, where she answers different sorts of questions, allowing a peak at her personality beyond the poses and smiles. That's where Seirei Shôjotai comes from. And the target audience of Gravure stuff are adult men. I lack the data to decide whether the clichée applies that the customers are for the most part "middle-aged" men, so I'll leave it more general: adult men.
But it's a huge market worth millions of dollars. In every bigger bookstore you will find picture books of good looking young ladies in their early twenties down to the girls of the U-15 league (models younger than 15), but the younger they are the rarer the shops that sell them. DVDs of the same kinds are similarly distributed.

(Now for some rambling, skip if you like)
Spoiler
Being in Akihabara on the December 23rd 2003 I saw a DVD cover depicting a female grade schooler, you know, red backpack and yellow hat and all, and the text said something like "We follow this cute girl for a whole day" - openly, as the pictures suggested, not as stalkers - and while there were no private parts shown the pictures on the back were pretty explicit when it came to angles and poses, and I asked my Japanese friend who had directed me to that shop (I was looking for EVA dôjinshi), "Is that legal!?" and he laughed nervously and said yes, it was within the limits of the law.


You mentioned porn in this context. I suspect some of the companies leading their models towards exactly such a career. Last year, two Gravure models that I know of have debuted in porn movies: Aida Sakura and Mimura Shôko. But I need more data, because two are not enough to conclude anything. What they both have in common is that both debuted as Gravure idols at a relatively advanced age. Aida Sakura debuted as a 15yo (starring in her first porn movie two months after her 18th birthday) and Mimura Shôko only started when she was 17 and took up porn at age 21.

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 Post subject: Re: Seirei Shôjotai
PostPosted: March 4th, 2010, 6:39 pm 
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Thanks for your well detailed insight!

I agree on many points. It is true that I get amusement many times when watching something on tv by the advertisements. ie. tampons for the budding new teen, electronic bed for the elderly, monster truck rally! though one thing that I have not encountered would be a toy commercial so at least i can say that i only watch shows for the emotional girls, the decrepit nearly dead, and the redneck gun shooting car smashing folk!
and this show is geared towards the adult male... i guess i can see the appeal but still not for me.

I ran across some questionable "kid" stuff in akihabara too. all the angles with no nudity. i was disturbed. though what i found more interesting was watching my friend look at all the "normal" stuff. it was like information overload for her. haha.


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