Back in January this year, we brought you news of an emerging J-pop group going by the name of Chubbiness. The idea behind the outfit was that, as well as being accomplished singers, the members were all “puniko“, or slightly chubby girls. Compared to most J-pop groups, which are very often populated with girls who are all pointy elbows and shoulder blades, Chubbiness just about lived up to their name, but few Westerners especially would ever think to call them “chubby”.
Eight months later, Chubbiness have launched their first official song, complete with an accompanying music video which shows them tucking in to a table full of sugary treats while singing about how there’s nothing wrong with being a bit on the big side.
The only thing is, after watching the video a handful of times, we can’t help thinking that if anything the Chubbiness girls actually look even slimmer now than when they were first introduced to us.
Shared on YouTube late last week by entertainment group Avex, “Manmadeiiya” (which roughly translates as “fine as we are”) is an undeniably catchy song and ticks all the usual J-pop boxes. The video, too, is bright, colourful and well-shot, and the girls look great. But the message it sends may be a little confusing for some.
The video opens with the Chubbiness girls excitedly crowding around a trestle table covered with sugary treats.
Before long, they start tucking in and feeding each other doughnuts and marshmallows.
We then hear some of the group members panting and complaining about being hot and sweaty. Dressed in a red tracksuit as if working out, we see one of the girls inexplicably find herself holding a giant doughnut instead of her water bottle.
Later, we hear the girls complaining about how their breasts are getting sweaty (no, seriously – there’s a weird dance move to go along with it), and wondering whether they’re so hot because their air conditioner had been switched off. They then go back to munching on their giant confectioneries.
Other parts of the video are, however, marginally more refreshing to see. Towards the end, for example, one of the singers is seen squeezing the undersides of her (admittedly only very slightly) soft upper arms and pulling at her cheeks while singing about how there’s nothing wrong with being a bit softer here and there.
For all of the genuinely positive messages Chubbiness’ first song contains, we still can’t quite bring ourselves to say that we especially like the video. We get it, every group needs a hook, and Chubbiness’ is that the girls are – by J-pop standards – not especially thin, and that’s fine. But maybe instead of telling the world that it’s OK to eat doughnuts and get a bit sweaty while pulling off some pretty gruelling dance routines, a better way to make your point would be to just get on with being a great J-pop group and not keep pointing out how chubby you are, least not when (unless it’s a trick of the light?) a few of your members actually look slightly thinner than they did before?
But business is business, we suppose, and perhaps we’re just being sensitive snowflakes about this one. At least Chubbiness are doing something a little bit different, and it is nice to see regular-sized girls shaking their stuff to a catchy beat, so we’re excited to see what they come up with in the future. Just so long as their next video doesn’t show them thrusting fistfuls of butter into their mouths just to prove a point.
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