Saturday, August 1, 2015

Arashi Choreography - The Beloved, the Beautiful, the Breathtaking and the Just Plain Silly

Arashi performances are a wonder to behold, whether they're done live in a stadium full of hopping people or in a studio stage with no one but the staff and cameras. So much heart, so much effort goes into an Arashi performance, but of course, what it always boils down to in the end are two things: the song. And the dance.

And boy, do they dance. Over the years, these five boys-turned-men have tried their hands (and perky little butts!) at a broad sampling of dancing styles, from Latin to hip hop, from jazz ballet to straight up breakdance. Go through a string of Arashi performances, and you'll find moves that are contemporary, disco, funk, acrobatic, with a creative sprinkling of experimentation in aerials and traditional Japanese dance. And sometimes, when the day is done and the boys just want to relax, you'll even see the very Arashified version of the "move your body and look dorkily silly" school of dance.  

So here, I've endeavored to list some of my personal favorite Arashi dance moves. I tried to choose from a variety of styles, just to showcase how versatile our fab five are! Please enjoy a wonderful gif-filled Arashi dance selection!

*Warning: Very very gif-heavy!

1. The Acrobatics

Let's start off easy, shall we? Let's start with the "Step and Go" kick. It's simple, it's clean, got the perfect tight thin pants on slender idol legs, and has the wonderful effect of getting everyone's tension up while simultaneously sticking to the breezy nature of the song. I love this move, love how it punctuates the music perfectly, and love that sense of unity that flows through our boys as it occurs.

But as far as the acrobatics go, Arashi may not be ABC-Z, but they're still Johnny's trained, after all (even if two of the five are still unable to do a back flip) and that means that they can do a lot more than just this cute little jump-kick. So to the right, please enjoy the "Lucky Man" cartwheel (infinitely looped for your pleasure; you're very welcome). Is it just me, or are there a few single-handed wheels in there?

Huh, single-hands? How about no-hands? Let's go back in time to this Music Station performance of Kimi ni Tame ni Boku ga Iru, and we'll see those Johnny's trained physiques in action! Ohmiya were killing it back in the day! Now, Leader still surprises us with the odd flip here and there (remember Hawaii?) and Nino still busts out some intricate breaks on the floor, but just know that in their physical heyday, they were capable of quite the range of Johnny's stunts!

Arashi rather likes to up the excitement with these technical stunts. I guess it makes sense. According to Nino's logic, every audience member paid a certain amount of money to see them perform, so naturally, Arashi are obliged to give it their all and make their audience feel as though every last sen was worth it, right? To the right, you see Ohno executing his perfect back flip in their debut PV, "A.Ra.Shi." And true to their promise to always bring a good show and not to shirk their audiences of the showiness that any Arashi performance deserves, the members continue to sprinkle little bits of the technically challenging moves into their performances, even the more recent ones (Leader, Aiba and Nino can all be seen cartwheeling in the 2014 performance of "A.Ra.Shi" for Hawaii Blast), just to reassure us that they are not getting lazy as they mature! And I guess it's things like that that make me love them all the more. Because hey, established groups can totally mellow down their performances and still have fans flailing over their every move, but I like that Arashi has this mentality of not being complacent and this drive to really earn the screams of their die-hard fans.

2. The Total S.W.A.G.

This might be stating the obvious, but Arashi is an all male idol group marketed mainly towards female audiences. Which means that naturally, it's part of their job description to tease our ovaries with some smoldering かっこつけ at times. What does that mean? Boom. Look below!

Performance of "Rock This" from Beautiful World
I'm talking about the those hunky moves that melt our kyaas in our mouths, about those swivels and pivots and sharp, provocative flicks of their bodies. Swag is all about confidence. It's an excuse for our boys to act like the cockiest bastards on earth when they're really just the nicest boys-next-door, and it's that gap between the swag!Arashi and the good boys!Arashi that makes every single jerk of their limbs in a song like "Rock This" dazzling and ovary-bursting.

I don't think anyone embodies this gap quite as well as Leader. The man is such a cutie-pie in real life, with his chubby cheeks and pouty lips and a tendency to shrink into his own world of fantastical artscapes and fishing dreams. But put him on stage, under the spotlight, give him a smooth tune, and boy, his body is going to start rolling and his very face is going to start seducing you. Ohno just manages to keep everything so tight, so terse and his movements are so smooth and controlled, that when he gives you a cheeky piece of swag like this little hand flick in "Song For You," you just feel the irresistible tension break, and you're left both satisfied and craving for more of this fluid  hypnotism that is Ohno Satoshi's body.

Though of course, that's not to say that the other  members are incapable of swag. Because hey, Sakurai Sho is pretty much Swag Central when it comes to Arashi. I mean, one doesn't simply mastermind cocky Arashi raps like "Hip Hop Boogie" "La Tormenta," "Attack It" etc. and not know how to dish out the swag on stage! Sho's got the bad boy image down pat, even if he's the farthest thing from it in real life. Case exhibit to your right. Yep, that's our resident honor student, our reliable MC, and our elegant, pineapple-guzzling newscaster, all decked out in his swag suit, with his swag cap and swag pants (and conveniently raised swag shoulder patches). And who can forget this iconic TABOO gesture, with the hand obscuring the nose and the whole body just unleashing... well... SWAG?

Swag, though, sometimes can come in a more languid, lazy form, too. And from as early as "Ai to Yuuki to Cherry Pie," these five have been playing that languidly cool card and charming their audiences with their terse frowning little chibi faces. Oh just look at that swerving dip in teenage MatsuJun's hips! No matter how insecure he might have felt in the beginning, his whole body language onstage is telling you only one thing: "I'm a stud, yo." And your eyes just fix directly onto that intense, cocky glare.

And sometimes, swag also manifests in pure, unabashed and gratuitous sexualization of our members' ummm... cockiness? (Excuse the bad pun). The Arafes 2012 performance of Jun's "Shake It" was a curious mix of both dorky and sexy, and half the time, I was torn between wanting to laugh and feeling aroused. One thing remains gospel truth, though, and that's the unbeatable appeal of MatsuJun's hips. *fans self*

So that's it for the SWAG gifs. There are many, many more where these came from, I just don't have time to gif them all! I do think it's worth mentioning that "Cool & Soul," which is, in my opinion, one of the most kakkotsuketeiru songs, does not have very much of a choreo, which is a pity, because the amount of strutting and preening in performances of that song are just insane and I just couldn't let this swag section go without at least mentioning this song! (Note: the swaggy gif to your left is not from "Cool & Soul" but from "always" in Beautiful World.)

3. The Tooth-rotting Fluffiness

Ask any Arashi fan you see, and chances are, one of the major reasons they adore Arashi is because of the so-called "gap" between the various public personas they adopt, depending on the situation. We've just seen Arashi rock our ovaries to high hell and back with their ultra manly, uber-cocky swag moves. So now, it's naturally time for us to let ourselves melt a little in their boyish cuteness, too.

Take this vintage Arashi move from 2006's "Kitto Daijoubu," and you'll see what I mean by just how shamelessly they milk their adorability factor in their performances. I mean, look at that wiggle, that cheeky twist of the arm, and the jaunty chin-level salute! The actual PV was even better than this M-ste performance clip, because it actually had them doing this on a bright computer-generated rainbow!

And if we're going to talk about the kawaii factor, then I would be terribly remiss if I did not at least mention a little number called "Love So Sweet." And of course, who better to showcase the definitive Arashi cuteness than our very own puppy-eyed Ninomiya Kazunari? Notice the similarity in style between the choreography of "Love So Sweet" and "Kitto Daijoubu?" They've both got that super moe hip-wiggle with these punctuating arm gestures that totally enhance their five shining idol smiles. And because "Love So Sweet" is just that full of tooth-rotting fluff (watch the PV, if you haven't already, it is pure cotton candy grade fluff), I'll include one more classic Arashi dance move from this particular song:


Naturally, member solos are also a great place to go to for some good old boyish Arashi charm, like in Aiba's "Hello Goodbye." I mean, isn't that little finger wink on the "hello" just adorable? It's like a gesture one makes when trying to talk to a precocious little child. And then the tilted wave on "goodbye" is really a cleverly devised piece of choreo, because it immediately draws all our attention straight to Aiba's mega-watt smile, and really, that image alone tends to be the one that haunts me most when I sing this song in my head.

And then, during the wreckage of fun and tears and goofiness that was Arafes '13, they came up with the brilliant idea of having all five members do the Hello Goodbye wave. That was a beautiful performance, probably my favorite performance of all Aiba solos ever (and yes, this is even after seeing the incomparable Disco Star-sama in action!). The amount of innocent friendship in this song just gets me right in the heart, and the way that everything is packaged to be so damn cute just accentuates the message all the more.

Are we done with kawaii Arashi yet?

No way. There's still gems like this ultra cheeky MatsuJun to be admired! This is the glittering, over-the-top cutesy performance of "Yabai Yabai Yabai" (wherein the famous MJ walk was debuted), and in all honesty, I don't think there ever will be quite such a brilliant marriage of the slick Michael Jackson-esque moonwalk with the precocious, blatant, sauciness that only someone with as much showpower as Jun can pull off. That jaunty salute! That smug "look-at-me-I'm-saikou!"look in his playful eyes! That heart, for crying out loud, that heart! Oh MatsuJun, you really showed everyone that you're just as awesome without that cool erotic image you usually adopt! I've actually really been hoping for more cutesy Jun solos, but it seems like our baby Arashi member has opted more for the mature erotic route since this performance.

If one were to go looking for Arashi cuteness, then Nino solos would be a great place to start. You've got numbers like "Himitsu" and "1992*4#111" and "Merry Christmas," all of which, from lyrics to melody, are brimming with the kawaii. In terms of dance though, there is one cute Nino solo that definitely stands out. Yes, I'm talking about "Himitsu." The moves in this one were practically designed to show off all of Nino's cutest assets. There's that classic pointing move (not shown), the little hands on the hips move (again, not shown), the little salute move (also not shown) and also this flaily limbed move (which is shown, because it's my favorite). Please, go watch any version of a "Himitsu" performance, and you'll see exactly what I'm talking about. The Neen brand of kawaii is strong, even when not bolstered by four clumsily dancing image men in animal suits.

Blame me for being an Aiba-bias (yes, yes, I know that when I first started this blog, I was all about the Jun and the Toshi, but times have changed, the wheel has turned, and yours truly here has since been enchanted by the green ray in the five-colored rainbow), but I am actually going to go ahead and put a second Aiba solo in this section, because "Friendship" was just so incredibly cute, I almost broke between wanting to laugh and wanting to melt. This is the song with the "big red hand choreo" and I absolutely adore the little shuffling move I've giffed for your enjoyment.

4. The Elegance

Sometimes, Arashi will get into the mood of being artistes, and yes, part of their job descriptions is also to dazzle us with elements of some of the more hoity toity kinds of dance. So sure, we'll see some hints of ballet, of smooth elegant jazz, of melancholic R&B...

Anyone remember this heartbreaking rendition of  "Refrain," which included a full umbrella choreo against a rain curtain frontdrop? Elegance, in Arashi dance terms, means dips, sweeps, and turns all executed with fluidity and tenderness. And in "Refrain," we see a lot of this. The choreo isn't necessarily too technical or dynamic; it's not the type of dance that's supposed to make your heart quicken by sheer physical exertion, it's more the type of dance that gets your heart thudding by the depth of its emotional resonance. Every move, every flick, every arch in their legs and swerve of their bodies is just charged with so much melancholic energy! The beauty is overpowering, and that's why elegant!Arashi remains one of my most irresistible flail triggers. (For a song review on "Refrain," please click here)

Perhaps one of my personal favorites (both as a piece of music and as a piece of choreography) is "Tokei Jikake no Umbrella," which was a coupling track to 2009's "My Girl" but didn't get unveiled in performance until the epic Arafes 2012 amid a storm of gorgeous, emotive rose petals. My favorite move? The clever, swirling bit of handiwork that culminates in a swift about-face turn (depicted in the gif). The rhythm in this little interlude is beyond elegant! It combines both the static and dynamic elements perfectly, which works so well for this song. I mean, statically, you have Arashi's torsos rigid, upright, unmoving, but then, just as they step into a complete stop, those dynamic arm movements come in to weave magic around their fixed bodies. I can't even begin to verbalize how much I love the design and execution of this choreo sequence. This was a brilliant move, and one that I forever associate with this song.

And speaking of elegance, how can I not mention the paragon of all elegance: the character of the intelligent and subservient butler? And how can I not also bring to light the insanely heart-stopping choreography that had all five Arashi members swishing down to a butler-prince kneel, with their hand outstretched and ready to serve? It's every fangirl's fairy tale dream come true, and  I must say, Arashi looks spectacularly good on their knees. This is the famous "Meikyuu Love Song," ladies and gentlemen, theme song to Sho's butler drama and killer of many a good pair of ovaries.

"Truth," the theme song to Ohno's angsty drama Maou, is just as destructive when it comes to ovaries and fangirl sanity. Yes, the song has a darker vibe than "Meikyuu" and the dance, similarly, takes on a more aggressive form of elegance. We have the classic "Truth" move, which was chosen by Music Station audiences as one of the top three Arashi choreo moves ever; that's the one where Arashi is pointing straight ahead and delineating a square of despair with their forefingers as they fix you with their intense stares in this very intense choreo (which Sakuraiba had a lot of trouble learning, apparently! Hehe, fun fact ^.^). We also have other moves, like this ballet-inspired pirouette of doom during the Arafes 2012 rendition of the song (which is just so deliciously dramatic and elegant at the same time, shown below left). And please also keep in mind the endless pivots and beautiful arches of the arms that permeate this song (shown below right). "Truth" is, in my opinion, one of the most classic pieces of serious!Arashi, where our five boys are truly in absolute honki mode!

One thing Arashi is very good at is embodying the essence of what it means to be Japanese. They were chosen as Japan Tourism Ambassadors for a reason, after all! So it's only natural that they would interlace some traditional Japanese elements into their performances, right? Enter, Arashi in kimonos, fans and lightsabers!

This is the amazing fan intro to the kimono rendition of "Right Back To You." (I should also mention that official shop photos of Arashi in this get-up are fetching prices in the 2000~4000 yen range at second hand stores in Japan). Are you getting an idea of how devastatingly gorgeous this is? I don't know much about how to dissect the themes of traditional Japanese dance, but I can say that all members exhibited a degree of dignity and restraint that evoked a sense of inner tranquility amidst an otherwise provocative song, and sure, part of it was just simply the costumes, but a large part of it was also the graceful choreography.

5. The Street Vibes

Arashi (or at least, some subset of Arashi) has the ability to pop out into some breakdance moves on the odd occasion. It  doesn't happen that often, but every now and then, I do find myself doing a double-take at how much a few seconds in an Arashi performance can legit look like it came out of a breaking competition.

I mean, just look at this showy sequence from a performance of "Lucky Man." Was Aiba attempting a semi-freeze right there, right before Nino comes in with the good old backflip? And I should mention also, that this is all happening after a toprocking Sakurai Sho has already vacated the floor. Now, I don't generally associate Arashi with the b-boy lifestyle (shudders to think of these five opening their mouths and speaking with a SoCal Asian accent), and I certainly don't mean to declare them to be legit hardcore breakdancers, but every now and then, I just see the influence of that particular strain of b-boy swag creep into their performance, and I gotta admit, they pull it off well :)

Do you guys remember a funky little PV called "Crazy Moon~ Kimi wa Muteki?" That's one that really did impress upon me as having a "street" vibe. It wasn't full on breakdancing, but it had some of the technical elements there, and the style with which they're dancing is certainly reminiscent of what one might see at a break-off. The footwork, the cockiness, the floorwork... all that showed us a really athletic side of Arashi (yes, even of Nino!).

Speaking of Nino... Let me take you back a couple of sections to that ultra cutesy "Himitsu" performance with the members all sweating like hogs in their dork!outfits. Would you have expected a mild choreography like that to suddenly bust out moves like this wheeling bit of floorwork? I mean, Nino~! Give our hearts a break!

And speaking of floorwork, we all remember to look for that customary Jun-kick during "Monster," right? I've always thought it to be a rather sudden (and somewhat random) insertion into what would otherwise be a very fluid, uniform choreo, but no one can deny that MatsuJun has this predatory style on the floor that somehow makes this jarring move work.

6. The Finesse

Are we ready for this? Because this is going to include a major fan favorite when it comes to choreography. I'm talking about a song that was voted to be performed in both Arafeses, despite only being performed during the 2007 Time concert tours and only being captured on official film once before. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting Arashi's "Love Situation!!!"

Now, one might ask, what is the appeal of "Love Situation?" Why are we so in love with a song that recounts the fairly standard story of a man going out to meet a woman and feeling all sweet and tingly inside? Is it the melody? Is it the rhythm? Is the choreo? Is it just, on the whole, everything in this entire package?

Well, the answers are: yes, yes, yes and yes. I won't get into the music, since this is supposed to be a choreo post, but one major thing that struck me when I first saw this song on DVD was the sheer finesse in all these movements. There were so many intricate hand movements and fine steps in the footwork it almost made me feel like I was in an Ohno solo. For example, look at the little finger flick, the decisive arm sweeps and the uniform stomp in the first gif? Also look at the sideways wave across the face, the twirl of the elbow, the dip with the upturned toes and finally the gaited turn in the second gif. In the third, note the high frequency wiggle in Oh-chan's legs (MatsuJun doesn't execute it quite as well here, but he does give a much better fluid wave in his arms). It's these little details, you know, that really remind us once again that while Arashi may spend a lot of their time on TV doing silly stunts or acting in dramas, they still hail from the very impressive song and dance background provided by J&A. Johnny's might not specialize in dance, but they're certainly nothing to sneeze at, either!

More exhibits from "Love Situation": Look at that windmilling move of the arms, as well as the accompanying leg movement where they stand on one leg and then partially bring the other in right before they twist into their descent. This whole choreo is just so dynamic and so filled with details in every movement, it's no wonder that Arashi were complaining how hard this was to pick back up, and I think it really sent a message to concertmaster!Jun that the fans liked this sort of dance. And it might just be my gut feeling, but I feel as though the choreos for the more recent singles have all been pretty good about showcasing Arashi's finesse.

Take this year's "Sakura" for example. Not only is it extraordinarily well put together, with conscious effort to achieve a some sort of dimensional balance (like having two members standing and the other three sweeping the floor with their knees to create a pleasing balance in terms of occupying all vertical levels of the audience's visual field), but it also shows off the degree of control Arashi has over their bodies when it comes to leaping, to dipping, to turning while simultaneously maintaining certain moves with their fingers and legs. there's even a short sequence of finger-play in this choreo, very reminiscent of the "Monochrome" fingerworks during the 2013 Love cons.

Also see the footwork in "let me down." It almost looks like they're doing some form of Latin dancing! I love the little outward twist of the foot pivoting at the heel. Such a sassy but elegant move!

And speaking of twists, how can we forget the equally intricate "Mada Minu Sekai e"? The way the hand follows the knee as rotates outwards is a very fine detail that makes a huge difference in making this move look smoother.

And you know, the finesse often comes in the sleekest, most stylish of their songs, like in this almost comical sideways shimmy conceived by prestigious Los Angeles-based choreographer JaQuel Knight for their 2013 album song "P.A.R.A.D.O.X." Those chicken-wing arms (lol!) and the teeny tiny, almost dainty, steps all of a sudden transition into a BOOM! The butts sink, the arms fly up, and it's just such a great move for accentuating that otherwise vocally unaccentuated beat in the song.

Another sleek, detail-oriented choreo? 2010's "Monster." It has that memorable peek-a-boo move, with the knees mirroring the hands as they open, that I just love, and it's also got that very intricate move where the members roll their fingers over the outstretched, opposite arm while their bodies are turned to the side. It is a move that captures the mysterious allure of the Monster perfectly, and has an almost predatory feel to it. *shivers*

2011's "Lotus" is worth mentioning because of the very small changes in the members' hand configurations with every little jerk of the choreography. It is again, something that helps us punctuate the appropriate musical phrases visually, but it also serves to give a little more dynamic to the choreo by having the arms and torsos dip, which then gives us more vertical balance so that the action isn't all just confined to being above waist level.

7. The Just Plain Silly

It should come as no surprise to anybody that Arashi can bring silliness and randomness into anything they do. Including their song and dance. I mean, they literally have choruses that go "We are jellyfish~" and performances where their choreo is basically them hugging various oversized stuffed vegetables dolls. Seriously, there is very little that these five won't do for the sake of entertainment. And here are just a few highlights of their most ridiculously masterminded moves when it comes to choreography on the big stage. The freshest in our memories is, of course, none other than the legendary Disco Star-sama himself. Word on the street has it that Aiba thought up these hilarious moves himself, which actually makes a lot of sense, given how over the top it is. Get ready, everybody, to receive some male pheromones!

Just as sparkly and ridiculous is the mic-stand  choreo that was devised for the 2012 hit "Wild At Heart." King Fab (aka MatsuJun) is front and center and exuding full-on Dork in such a fabulous way, we find it hard not to squeal and swallow every last bit of this angular choreo like it's the slickest thing ever to grace the dance floor. I love the tilts in the arms (there's a similar move in GUTS! which is equally, if not more, dorky), and the accompanying juts of their five perky butts here.

And speaking of all things good and silly, remember that (in)famous PV from 2007 that caused a collective fangirl heart attack when a grinding Ohmiya appeared in front of us, fondling each other's faces? Mm...that's "Happiness," all right, and the choreo, when performed on music shows like Utaban, was bouncy, high energy, hilarious and a compete success at getting everyone's tension up. I mean, just look at the boys, don't they look like they belong in a cheerleading squad?

You know what was a really good concert? Popcorn. The album it was based on had a few awesome tracks (it also had a few not-so-awesome tracks, but all in all, a solid effort), but the concert live tour just took what was already a rather eccentrically playful album to a completely new level of blatant, in-your-face party-making. The opening number was "Up To You," and this incredibly fun song came with a full set of dorky dance moves like the little knee flapping thing they've got going on in the gif to your left. Kudos to whoever choreographed this gem, because the first time I watched it, I watched it like five times just to see those stripey Arashi legs in action!

And of course, there's always "FUNKY" if you still need more of an dorky!Arashi fix :-P

8. The Classic Boy Band Formations

Is Arashi a boyband? I know some English-speaking fans try to resist the use of this term to refer to Asian idol groups, and to be sure, there are many, many fundamental differences between Arashi and what Western audiences might think of as a "boyband" (e.g. Backstreet Boys, N'Sync, and more recently, One Direction). But as far as the dancing is concerned, Arashi actually utilizes quite a lot of the same hip hop-type routines, and being a multi-person unit, it's almost inevitable that they will take advantage of what I like to call the classic "boy band formations" to make their dances more dynamic. The most basic formation is naturally just having them all stand side by side; alternatively, you can also have them start with the common 3+2 or 2+3 trapezoid formation, where two or three members are in front and the others stand in a row behind, staggered so the audience can still see everyone's faces. But the top idol group of Japan is a little more creative than that, of course! For "Still..." we have the familiar conveyer-belt line-up, with the members' movements staggered in rhythm to the song to achieve a slightly robotic sense of unison, like they're all cogs in the same machine or something.

For an M-ste performance of "Daremo Shiranai," they went ahead and broke even more neat tricks out of their toolkit, this time utilizing a mirror to double the little "ring of fate" they form with their hands during the song intro. It looks pretty neat, though of course, it's something that you really have to be close up to appreciate.

And who can forget the screams of the 70,000 people in Kokuritsu when Arashi knelt into formation for what may be the swaggest song in their repertoire: "Re(mark)able"? Setting aside the fact that they actually touch each other's faces (which is a kyaa-trigger for even the most level-headed of fangirls), this formation was actually brilliant in the way it linked the members with each other like they were literally interlocking links on a chain. Wonderful visuals, A+!

"Endless Game" was a number that had interesting formations both in its opening and its closing. The whole illusion/contraption of one man having multiple arms is naturally nothing new in the world of dance, and Arashi is using it with casual pizzazz here. Sho looks so smug, and now that I think about it, he doesn't seem to be the center in a lot of Arashi performances... Maybe that's because he already gets so much time to shine solo as a rapper? Like even in his drama theme songs (e.g. "Meikyuu" "Troublemaker" etc), I never quite got a strong impression of him being the "lead" so to speak. Ah well, that's really more of an impression than an observation anyways; the point is, it's refreshing for me to see Sho front and leading the choreo here!

9. And Lastly...

There's no other way to end this post but to deliver the the most iconic Arashi move of all time:

♪ FOR DREAM~~~~♪

I am certain that I have left out a large number of choreos that I meant to place in here, so if you guys have some favorite dance moves that you'd like to share, the comment box is all yours!

Note: I am in no way a professional dancer or choreographer. I don't even know that much about the history of dance or the strict definitions of the different schools of dance. This was written based on my own observances and passions, and is not meant to be a scholarly analysis of Arashi's choreography as an art form. So please, enjoy the pretty gifs, enjoy the flaily talk, but don't use this for your Asian pop culture papers, boys and girls!


  1. This made me laugh "these five boys-turned-men have tried their hands (and perky little butts!)"

    "sharp, provocative flicks of their bodies" asdfghjkl yes

    "his own world of fantastical artscapes and fishing dreams. " Dawww yes <3

    "and conveniently raised swag shoulder patches" cracks at Sho's nadegata will never get old haha

    "And sometimes, swag also manifests in pure, unabashed and gratuitous sexualization of our members' ummm... cockiness? (Excuse the bad pun)" PFFT

    I love the "Hello Goodbye" finger wink too :D

    "Arashi looks spectacularly good on their knees" Is it just me, or is this line sort of kinky? haha

    "It is (a) move that captures" Whoops, typo? #avoidsrocks XD

    "it's (extra space) something that('s-delete) you really have to be close up to appreciate" #morerocks

    I LOVE the thousand-armed buddha-ish move <3

    "already get(s) so much time" #startstogetburied

    1. You're so cute, throwing rocks at yourself while correcting my typos! (◡‿◡✿)
      Don't worry, I've fixed the ones you've pointed out. Hope that calms your OCD mind? Hahaha~!

      Sho's nadegata. It actually looks way more obvious in certain choreographies, especially when all five are moving in unison... he just looks like his posture's slightly different lol *pets Sho*

      OMG only you would pick up the "kinkiness" in the "on their knees" sentence! I was really trying to keep this post PG-13, really I was!

  2. Ah, Arafes '12 where my brain almost exploded in shock. There I was innocently watching Aiba's Friendship solo thinking how adorable they all were and suddenly Boom. Jun's Shake It came along and I think I may have blacked out for a moment. May I just add that this is possibly the most replayed bit of any concert I have on DVD. In fact I'm surprised that my disc hasn't worn out by now...

    1. Arafes '12 was all sorts of amazing indeed! Haha, I love that Friendship to Shake It sequence too! So much member-ai in such a short period! The members backdancing for each other was a great idea. Take good care of your disc, haha!

  3. asterisk during love 2013, how about that?

    1. Do you mean Asterisk during Digitalian, or Intergalactic during LOVE? Haha, I get those two mixed up at times, too! They're both amazing songs and wonderful choreos! I definitely think they fit into both the swag and finesse categories (all those fine hand movements!)

  4. I especially love TRAP choreography from Digitalian!!! Ah, I cant stop watching it~

    1. TRAP was a wonderful choreo! And it was pretty different from the other stuff Leader's choreographed before, too, so I thought it was great that he shwed us his swag side ^.^

  5. Awesome post!
    As for your comment about Sho not being the center a lot in songs, I noticed something like that.
    Granted for a lot of the drama songs I automatically look for whoever is in the drama.
    Arashi just seems to be very balance as far as choreography goes for members that its hard to tell sometimes.

    The same thing happens for most of the member's dramas as well.
    The only one I think it is really obvious for is MatsuJun.

    However, for singing, I have noticed something else.
    If there is an obvious lack of Sho solo lines in a song, then I know there is a Sakurap coming.
    The lack of a center in Arashi allows me to feel like that is a good judgement and has held over several songs and different albums.

    Side note for songs though: I have listened to A Day in Our Life several times and still cannot figure out if Nino and Aiba were actually singing during the recording of that song.
    Granted the majority of the song is Sho rapping, but you can still hear Leader and Jun.
    I just can't figure out where Nino and Aiba fit in and watching them perform it confuses me even more.

    1. I do the same thing! I always look for the starring member when they sing a drama theme. I think it's pretty obvious with Ohno also. But you're right that Jun makes the most eye-catching center. No wonder Leader likes to center his choreos around our youngest member.

      It's a good point about the sakurap. I never thought about it that way though it certainly makes sense. Arashi is all about achieving a good balance between the members.

      I think Nino and Aiba were probably very soft backups in the rap part in A Day. Cuz I don't think Sho is singing alone (I'll have to listen a few more times to make sure though).

      Thank you for all your lovely comments on the blog!

  6. hello! I've ended up here doing research about La Tormenta's lives. I am recently obsessed about it. And I am glad I found this article! What an amazing work you did about choreography!!! Really impressive!!!
    I loved the categories that you've created and to catalog the vast amount of great Arashi choreography in there would be a delicious exercise.

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