View Full Version : A tybby review of a thing: Pon pon pon

08-08-2012, 04:52 AM
Here's your daily dose of culture, because god knows you need it

Pon Pon Pon (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzC4hFK5P3g) is universally lauded as one of the greatest works to leave japanese shores, raking in large sales not only in japan but also in the states, Ukraine, and Guarama. The unique charm of this video won over the hearts of western audiences, but I fear the more scholastic nature of this piece is ignored in favour of its catchy tune and blissfully innocent vocals. Allow me to educate you

Pon Pon Pon is very obviously a critique of the "idol" culture, practiced most notably in japan and north america. The cheerfully surrealist imagery is all very obviously resentful of the system which created it, while this girl is only able to spread this message due to her fame, she preaches very strictly against the source of her fame. Perhaps a hypocrite, she is crying out for an end to this destructive culture. For the purpose of this essay, I will list and divide the video into its three most prominent images, the girl herself, her faceless shadow, and the eyes. Through a culmination of these three images, the video strives to show us what is so wrong with the world

The music video (or, musvid, as it is known in the oriental east) begins with our heroine standing completely still in a pose, emulating a photoshoot. Through the long pause before the music begins, we see her sway seemingly uncomfortable. This moment, lasting around 10 seconds, conveys to us the stresses of fame. When she begins to dance, we quickly notice she is alternating between two costumes, a red skinned blonde and a brunette dressed like a little girl. Without hesitating, she is showing us the double life she is forced to live as an idol. The brunette is always within the "apartment", which very obviously looks like a stage, the blonde is sequestered to a green-screen void, perhaps out in limbo? This suggests the "little girl" is the fake self she puts on for the sake of her career, while the red skinned girl is the real self left behind.

Something important to note about this girl is that her dance is very sexual, making frequent gestures towards her rear. Phallic imagery is ever-present as well. Her cane, the large bone coming in through the window, and then most obvious, an apple on the end of a sword (worthy of note is that she takes a bite of this apple). While performing these lewd motions, there is always someone watching from her window. I believe these represent her audience, mostly drawn as eyes, or as a figure I will call "the faceless shadow"

The eyes are a very obvious theme throughout, representing the constant voyeurism she endures for the sake of her career. At first they watch from windows, but soon they are surrounding her, getting closer and closer. Like Perfect Blue (an inferior work from director Satoshi Kon), we get a very detailed look at what an idol has to endure, fans who want to be so close, to touch, and perhaps have

The most shocking imagery in this video though is of the faceless shadow, a girl with no face. Unlike our heroine, she is quite clearly overweight, and her hair is frayed and white. This girl, who appears as frequently as the eyes, represents the many "average" girls who watch her program. Unlike our visually perfect heroine (remember: she is sexualized for the mail audience, or eyes) she has defects that would make her unattractive by comparison. Tragically, we mostly see her mimicking the main girl from windows, and within the void. These girls are undoubtedly the victim of this oppressive culture, that stresses perfection. Their self esteem is completely wrecked, and thus they try their best to emulate their idol, to the point where there is a shot of them literally worshiping the idols giant head.

What makes this such a brilliant critique though, is that it has more than one idea it wants to put across. We see inklings of other anti-culture sprinkled about. Most notable would be a box of kraft dinner atop a pile of detritus, a clear attack on consumerism and the influence of commercialism in art. Towards the end there is a segment where the girl, in her idol form, dresses up as or acts as various characters, an old woman, willie wonka, Goku of dragon ball z, I've come to interpret this as her attack on the "fake"ness of television, the unrealistic writing and performances that plague contemporary media

08-08-2012, 10:03 AM

I'm pretty sure you're over thinking sexual part.

That being said I see some of what you're talking about, the rest seems to be to be something akin to being a child, especially the dance.

08-08-2012, 09:41 PM
I honestly think you're over analyzing it waaaay too much.

08-09-2012, 01:19 AM
I honestly think you're over analyzing it waaaay too much.

I can legitimately see what he's getting at, but I think some of his points are a bit far fetched. Some things are just things for the purpose of being things.

On the subject of video analysis, I'd like to give one for the series of videos Feel Good Inc (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pw8PpYBiDsc) and El Manana (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuvUXI4xFsY) . If you pay close attention to the song and put it in the tense that where the three members are, is the music 'scene', Sex and drugs.

Breaking it down by each member and their personalities, we see Murdock. The most 'evil' of the group. Obviously enjoying the sex and the drugs. He stands up and proud the entire video, not once wavering.

Then you take Russel, The slightly lesser evil. He keeps his head down, stays away from it, but continues to play during the entire video. Obviously taken by the drugs.

We come to 2D, the main sort of 'protagonist' of the band and the gorillaz universe. He's a sort of moral grey in the video. He can see Noodle on her island of innocence. Flying right by the feel good ink. Putting his hands on the glass and gazing longingly at the island. 2D wants to be free of the drugs, but every time he gets close to the window, the pushers come on and start rapping, or in terms of the theme. They're pushing drugs, this is reflected in how 2D acts during each of the De La Soul segments. In the end, 2D can't excape and sits back down on his chair, defeated.

Now the El manana and noodle segment. During the Feel good video, you can see Noodle riding about on the island. The windmill that 2D sings about. he longs to be over there, away from everything. She sits ignorant of the feel good inc, she doesn't see it, passing the other members by. In the video we see helicopters flying after her. I believe these represent War and what it does to children. If you see in the El Manana video, war, or the choppers burn the island down and sink it. Thus sink her childhood, killing her innocence.