Thursday, July 18, 2013

On Miura Azusa and the Legend of MomozakiP

Since it's our favorite oneesan idol Azusa-san's birthday today I thought I'd do a little bit of storytelling about a special part of Azusa's history in im@s.

If we were to plot the entirety idolm@ster's past, present, and future on a timeline, today we'd likely be somewhere towards the end of the 2nd VISION era. Since idolm@ster's shift into 2nd VISION and the creation of Ryugu Komachi there no longer seems to be many AzusaPs however. Those remaining have likely been AzusaP's since the older generations of im@s and perhaps the most famous AzusaP was just that.


The story of MomozakiP (桃邪気P) is well known among veteran im@s P's but newcomers to im@s particularly from outside of Japan are likely not aware of his story. MomozakiP was recognized as a great im@s contributor to Nico Nico Douga and a huge fan of Azusa during the Xbox 360 idolm@ster generation. This was a time when im@s was largely growing due to Nico Nico Douga as few Japanese actually owned Xbox 360s. MomozakiP himself had uploaded literally about 100 im@s videos to Nico Nico Douga, many of which focused on Azusa his favorite idol. But he was most well known for what would be considered his masterpiece, the video titled; "アイドルマスター 隣に・・・ 三浦あずさ (MA07販促)" or "Idolm@ster Tonari ni... Miura Azusa (MA07 promotion)"

MomozakiP's Masterpiece


Linked above is a reupload of the original video from Nico Nico Douga. Unfortunately for English-only speakers, the subtitled version from domelola's youtube was lost when his channel was taken down. But the premise of the video is that Azusa is performing "Tonari ni..." on stage and in the middle of her performance there are technical difficulties and the sound is cut. Azusa's Producer (MomozakiP) convinces the reluctant staff to allow Azusa to stay on stage singing. Azusa continues her performance and sings in acappella and eventually they are able to fix the sound system and the music returns.The video was created originally to promote Azusa's first real life solo album, Master Artist 07 aka MA07. The video soon became very popular and on its video description MomozakiP writes,

"Thank you for the 100,000 views.
I can't believe I could have ever reached this achievement."

Original video link:

After the creation of this video, fans believed that MomozakiP would continue to make more videos like it. However on April 23rd, 2008, it was reported on his friend's blog that MomozakiP had passed away from heart attack.

News of MomozakiP's death had spread and attention to MomozakiP's masterpiece began to increase rapidly. The video was later tagged with the "beginning of a legend" and "should be viewed for eternity" tags. Today the video has almost 950k views and over 50k comments with an on-going effort to reach 1 million views.

Tonari ni...

One of the most significant parts to the story of MomozakiP is its relationship with the song "Tonari ni...". Tonari ni is likely Azusa's most famous character song and MomozakiP's influence definitely played a big role in it getting there. If you've ever read the lyrics to Tonari ni you'll know that Tonari ni is about a woman who's lover has passed away and the pain that she endures missing him. Although the song was of course released before MomozakiP's death, the story it tells almost reflects MomozakiP's very own with Azusa. The fact that it was the song he used and the song Azusa sang in his masterpiece video creates an even more emotional impact.

Does Namco know?
Yes, they do. The idolm@ster team often acknowledges its fans' culture and community so sometimes you'll see ののワ's and other gags referenced in official work. Particularly in the im@s anime there were a few instances such as Haruka's box opening incident which is a direct parody of Nakamura Eriko's famous yuupack incident. MomozakiP however was also given a slight nod to in episode 21. If you don't remember what happens, 765pro and 961pro are at the same live festival when Kuroi commands the staff to rig 765pro's performance to not provide any music. When 765pro are told they cannot get the music running, Chihaya insists to sing on her own without it. Chihaya sings Nemurihime in acapella and moved by her performance, the staff has a change of heart and turns the music back on as she is singing. Sound familiar? Yep, most fans consider this a direct reference to MomozakiP's MA07 video.

Additionally in the BD bonus episode 26 we're given a small look at a movie Azusa starred in. It's very likely this is also a reference to MomozakiP as well with Tonari ni being played and Azusa retaining her long hair in the flashback sequence with a mysterious faceless man.

Edit: Also in the "The World is All One" manga Azusa sings acapella when the sound system is turned off as well. (thanks to koshigawakai for reminding me)

Fans of MomozakiP also contributed to his legend. In fall of 2009 fans of MomozakiP formed a team and created a movie in honor of him known as 3A07~Memories are here~. The movie is a story about Azusa and her Producer who is also her lover. Any further summary would be a spoiler for the story to those who haven't seen it yet. I will say that the first two times watching 3A07 had me crying like baby and that it's in my opinion one of the best im@s fan movies ever created. Luckily the subtitled version by domelola was in fact archived. 3A07 embodies the entire heart of MomozakiP's legend, his work, his fans' appreciation, and his great love for Azusa. So please give it a watch as it is very worth it

Original in Japanese:

Subtitled by domelola:

Part 1:
Part 2:
Part 3:

Edit: Dailymotion link -
(thanks imoutomaster for the link) 

After finishing be sure to watch the special 3A07 "Tonari ni" bonus video as well

In Conclusion

The story of MomozakiP is but one of many chapters of im@s history and culture. As an im@s P of 2nd VISION, learning about the old days of im@s is always interesting to me. In particular MomozakiP's tale reaches out to me because it's one of the few that revolve around Azusa whom I feel I've grown a bit distant from as a 765pro im@s Producer. In a way the Azusa of today and the one from MomozakiP's masterwork feel like two very different Azusas. MomozakiP's legend gives me the feeling that even though times change, the love from Azusa's fans exists eternally, past, present, and future.

To MomozakiP who left behind a sad yet beautiful tale, and to that Azusa-san who found her destined person, I send you both my prayers that in the next life you may find each other once again

Happy Birthday, Azusa-san