I found Kanako's musicality and interpretation were quite moving, but let me put it this way: if she were singing, her diction would be mushy---that's how her jumps were. I could see she was going to get dinged for a jump because she'd get too low on the landing and then have to save it, or she'd land a jump and move out of it too quickly for it to have been completely rotated. I think Kanako was tired after the long season and she invested all her energy into the emotions of the performance instead of into its physical components. She was so happy with her performance, but I knew her TES was going to get slashed. It was sad to see her face change in the KnC from joy to crushing disappointment.
She does need to find a balance between emotional and athletic performance, and she has to work on the athletic part first and foremost. Every season isn't going to be as tough as this one was, so she can take some consolation in that.
She really needs to focus on her technique. Needs to get stronger to get a bit more height and muscle around that extra rotation. As much as people want to whine that the tech panel is giving her unfair UR calls, if every panel is doing it and if she's getting many of them (including 2 URs called in her SP, and 6 URs called in her FS on home ice), you need to stop blaming the tech specialists who are consistently calling it as they see it and actually look to the skater.
As a skater, she's beautiful to watch, and arguably deserving of higher PCS, but I'm betting the judges lowball her when they see all those <'s. Her programs last year were some of my favourites. I'm glad she's staying! Hopefully without being in the shadow of Asada and Suzuki, she'll have more confidence.
I think their treatment on Murakami is due to her #3 position among Japanese ladies. It was not clear in past two seasons. Actually she was the #2 at London worlds (as a result, Suzuki was treated harshly). Only she could not live up to the expectations in this season (save for 4cc in Taiwan). If she becomes the #1 Japanese lady in next season, her problems will be "improved" or "reduced" drastically. However it's not an automatic development. Miyahara could make strong performances during the GP season and take the position from Murakami. Murakami can't afford to lose the confidence further. She must prove that she can be counted on. Therefore she doesn't have the luxury of correcting techniques. Prepare well and skate like at 4CC from the beginning of the season. Anyway, I expect Miyahara will be the #1 in due course. Her technical problems are less obvious than Murakami and much more consistent. It's better to prop up Miyahara to be more competitive at international competitions.
Taking baby steps to clean up her jumps would be good. An overhaul would surely be detrimental, though. I would focus on trying to curve her axel and toeloop around a little more on the takeoff (she actually doesn't get enough pre-rotation in these jumps a lot of the time) and trying to get the timing on the Triple Loop better between the lower body and upper body.
She should just stick to one Lutz and one Flip in the LP. Her layout earlier this season with two Triple Loops was really good. The 3Loop+2Loop that she was attempting last season was excellent as well. She got totally screwed over with < calls on that last season.
Murakami's flutz is one of the worst, practically impossible to fix it. Her base values are lower than Miyahara (4 points in total). Miyahara is more consistent and better in spins. Murakami is going on 20 years old. In a common sense, she has already passed the prime of her physical strength. Technically the choice is obvious. Miyahara will be able to compete with the top with a little of "propping up".
People need to stop enabling her saying the judges are trained improperly and they've got it wrong. Everyone is getting equally measured and if Kanako is getting so many UR calls for supposedly fully rotated jumps don't you think anyone else would get UR calls as much as she does? She needs to fix her technique, the judges aren't going to be any less critical of her.
And even if everything was fair and 100% objective (impossible), I also think there is more to it anyway. I think once a skater gets a reputation for under-rotation, they are subjected to more reviews and closer scrutiny by the technical panel, than other skaters... and at that point it becomes unfair:
It may mean that other skaters "get away with stuff" occasionally, whereas the one with a "reputation" never gets a break.
Murakami has never been a talented jumper. She couldn't land fully rotated 3(f)lutzs and 3flips until 14 years old. She never attempted the 3loop when she was a junior. The flip is the most secure jump for her but the hammer toe looks ugly and hampering higher GOE. Even the 2A is prone to errors. For most of ladies, the age around 16-17 years old is the peak of jumping abilities. After that, their best efforts are centered on not losing jumps they already have. I'm very pessimistic about Murakami's jumps. It won't get any better than now.
Kanako has such a delightful personality and energy when she performs well. I was particularly struck by how emotional she was at Japan Nationals this year. OBVIOUSLY the stress of needing to skate well to make the Japanese Olympic team was something bordering on unimaginable for any normal person, but still, that kind of stress, even when one gets through it as successfully as she did, can take its toll on someone. I hope she continues but the dynamics of going through life as a top skater in Japan are quite something.