Empirical Studies of Name Funniness

Things have taken a more rigorously scientific turn over at the Blog of Funny Names.


Wiggin Out on Wilhelmenia Mania!

What do Bourne Identity and The Fifth Element have in common? You can find out by reading my latest over at the Blog of Funny Names, where I put up my once-every-four-weeks post.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu & Mottai Night Land Redux & AU CM

Kyary always comes around in crushing waves of activity. When she flips into high gear it’s hard to keep up. So, let’s see, we’ve recently been compelled to cover her toothpaste incarnation and her inspired new video. Here, Kyary uses the same Mottainai song in an AU promo.

I’m getting a kind of Studio Ghibli hit with the ghostly entities. Those, and Kyary’s pointy teeth, are just in time for Halloween. Although it’s hard for Kyary to top Fashion Monster for the Halloween ambience.

Script transcription/translation
Stylist: Kyary-chan, you got on Smart Value, right?
[“chan” is an endearing diminuitive suffix],
Kyary: Hunh? What the h*ll is that?
Ghostly entities appear with the letter “Mo.”
Entities: Mo? Mo? Mo? Mo? Mottainai! (Wasteful)
[Kyary Screams]
Stage crew member (knocking on door): Kyary-chan? . . . It’s no good.
Handler: She won’t come out.
Director: Kyary-chan? [Opens door]
[Kyary sings the first lines of “Mottai Night Land”]
Voiceover (reads campaign slogan): Such a waste when people don’t know about it.
Director: She’s possessed.

And don’t forget it’s Day Three for Nightskyradio’s Rocktober Halloween Countdown!

The Russian Duo Makes a Comeback

t.A.T.u. makes a comeback on a Snickers CM.

The duo is knocked over and stomp back to the bench in a huff. Teammates approach and say, “Hey, the game isn’t over yet.” “Change your attitude.” They throw their mitts away in outrage and vent in Russian. The third teammate says, “Being hungry makes them selfish. How about a Snickers?” t.A.T.u. chomps down on the Snikcers bars then transforms back into two compliant baseball boys. Later, t.A.T.u. is batting and the teammate says, “Wha-!? Now the batter, too?!”

A press release for the CM?

Now we have press releases and “the making of” documentaries for frickin’ tv commercials?!? Is this the end of civilization, or what?

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu Toothpaste CM & Plus Bonus Behind the Scenes Footage!!!!

I kyan never forget that the vast majority of my hits are for Kyary-related posts. Hence, the new Ora2 toothpaste CM must be covered, or I totally lose my standing within the Kyary kyomyunity.

This CM kyampaign is going to be broadcast across East Asia, with Kyary serving as “Ora2 HAMiGAKi Ambassador” (“hamigaki” = toothbrush or toothpaste). Hmmm. As you may or may not know, Kyary has a semi-official role as “Kawaii Harajuku Ambassador” (granted by the mayor of Shibuya ward in Tokyo last year). So, the “Ambassador” title here is clearly being taken out of context and used to promote blatant commercial interests (literally “commercial interests”! Ha ha!). Should we take this as an ironic wink, or a gross kyonflict of interest? But perhaps it’s better not to look too deeply into such things.

Language notes: The CM uses Kyary’s song “Sungoi Aura” (set to accompany her new single that will be released early next month), playing on the name of the toothbrush: “Ora2” (Aura: Ora). The new self-designation “Kyary Hamyu Gakyu”–which appears prominently in transluscent psychedelic toothpasty pastels–is a play on “hamigaki” (again: toothpaste or toothbrush). Is this kyaracteristically inspired Kyaryan wordplay? Or really lame shark jumping with the Kyaryan puns? I kyan’t decide, but for perspective imagine Katy Perry appearing in a toothpaste campaign with the name “Kateeth Pastey.” Would that be clever, or cringe-worthy?

But, wait, this is not all! There is also the making of Kyary’s toothpaste CM!!!!!!

I’m going to have to come down on the side of thumbs up for this project. This is a fairly well-conceived and well-executed Kyaryan fantasy. However, I think Kyary herself could actually have been spruced up a bit more to blend in more with the shiny, antiseptic pastels of toothpaste world. Her teeth aren’t sparkly enough and the colors of her get-up seem maybe half a shade too muted, don’t they? One should really pull out more stops where Kyary is concerned.

Sadako Is Coming . . .

in 3D. Soon. And you. Can’t. Stop. Her.

I actually saw one of these trucks today! Though it was even better, because it was at night, and there was also a little mini Sadako whose hair was tangled up in the fingers of the big Sadako!

[Editor’s cut: I kind of overdid it on Sadako clips and removed all but that first one. One flatbed Sadako is kinda funny. Endless Sadako clips was getting a bit dark.]

Keiko Fuji RIP

The sad news today is that Keiko Fuji, a hugely popular singer back in the day, took her life. I wasn’t a fan, but the song I most liked as I was searching around just now is her cover of an oldie called “Casbah Woman.”

She had a deep, earthy voice with a lot of emotion, and is considered Japan’s equivalent of a female blues vocalist, though I would characterize enka (her genre) as more like Country & Western than blues.

Her debut “Shinjuku Woman” (1969) was a massive hit. It’s sadly ironic that she died in a leap from her apartment building in Shinjuku. She had a history of emotional instability and some episodes of very eccentric behavior. I can’t help wondering, from what I’m hearing now, if her condition could have been treatable.

Though I wasn’t a fan of Keiko Fuji, I’ve been an admirer of her equally famous daughter Hikaru Utada, a very, very talented singer-songwriter (though not active lately). She single-handedly raised the bar on Japanese pop music with her brilliant debut, “Automatic” (1998).